The FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix has traditionally kicked off in Argentina where 3 highly competitive professional swims have attracted swimmers from around the world since 1961.
The 57K Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe-Coronda starts off the circuit in February. The 15K Rosario swim and the 15K Viedma swim follow for 3 straight weeks of swimming, celebrations and travel in a country that has developed great open water swimmers for the past 50 years.
The Santa Fe - Coronda, race starts in the city of Santa Fe and finishes in Coronda, with the swimmers traditionally starting about 9 am for an 8-hour race. The swimmers have to navigate the river currents and are greeted by tens of thousands of local citizens who come out for the race and concurrently held festival.
Throughout the history of the swim, the world's best open water swimmers have won this race, from John Kinsella, Bill Heiss and James Kegley, Herman Willemse of the Netherlands, Abou Heif of Egypt, and Argentina's most famous swimmers including Carlos Larriera, Horacio Iglesias, Claudio Plit and Diego Degano.
The Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe - Coronda, is so well-known in Argentina that a documentary was made called Agua. Among others, Diego Degano and Edith van Dijk appeared in the movie. Agua was about a 34-year-old former open water swimming champion, who has been wrongly accused of doping in the Santa Fe-Coronda Marathon. The swimmer has abandoned his career and was living in the desert. Eight years later, he returns to Santa Fe to try to re-gain his title and clear his name. However, long-buried emotions come back to haunt him. He meets a stubborn and disciplined pool swimmer, who tries hard to be selected for the national team, but fails. Identifying with the pool swimmer, the former open water swimmer champion asks him to be his guide on the boat that follows him during the Santa Fe-Coronda marathon.
For a Spanish-language video of the Santa Fe-Coronda swim, check out