Roberval 2010, Day 3 (W): Eva Fabian (USA) wins first gold medal in 5K for Americans since 1998

Eva Fabian (USA)Eva FABIAN (USA) was first among the 32 athletes who entered the 19.9 degree waters of Lac-St-Jean this morning following the American's strategy to take it out strong and to finish even faster. FABIAN led the field from the start of the race but ironically she and the silver medalist Georgia CONSIGLIO (ITA) were out faster in the first 2.5K in Saturday's 10K race than they were today in the event that was half of the distance. FABIAN's (USA) margin of victory was .10 of a second covering the two loops in 1:02.01.0.

This is the first gold medal for an American swimmer in the 5K since Erica ROSE (USA) won this event at the 1998 FINA World Championships in Perth. In that same championship another American Tobie SMITH (USA) collected a gold medal in the 25K event but the American drought of 12 years ended today with a gold medal in the 5K event.
Georgia CONSIGLIO (ITA) earned her second silver medal of the FINA World Championships trying to chase down one American and stay ahead of another American and two Brazilians who were in the group sprinting to the touch pad.

Ana Marcela CUNHA (BRA) was 1.7 seconds off the gold medal pace but collected the bronze medal. Her teammate Poliana OKIMOTO (BRA) shared 4th place with American Christine JENNINGS (USA) in today's race, tied at 1:02.02.8.

The FINA 5K event was held under a bright sun and clear conditions, the first day of warm pleasant conditions without the threat of thunderstorms in Roberval (CAN). This was the first year than Larissa ILCHENKO was not competing in the 5K distance. She earned a silver medal last year on Ostia Beach during the 2009 FINA world Championships. More significantly she was the reigning world champion in the 5K distance from 2004 to 2009. ILCHENKO holds 8 gold and 1 silver medals in FINA world championship competition. ILCHENKO (RUS), the Beijing gold medalist in the Olympic 10K event withdrew from Saturday's 10K race due to hypothermia. She was not entered in today's 5K event.
Ekaterina SELIVERSTOVA (RUS) was disqualified for unsporting conduct towards her competitors and asked by officials to leave the race. Seven yellow card warnings were issued to the competitors.

FABIAN, who will turn 17 next August 3, was disqualified in the 10K competition on Saturday after being in the lead pack for almost all race. She was ejected from the course for her violation of the rules when she and another swimmer collided near one of the turn buoys and both swam on the wrong side of the buoy. Her father Jack who is also her swim coach and shared that "Eva was inspired after the 10K disqualification. She swam today's race the way she wanted to. We weren't sure it was going to work and honestly she doesn't have that much experience with 5K racing having swum only her third a month ago in Long Beach, CA (USA) to qualify for the World Championship team. Today she swam a front end strategy and we weren't sure it was going to work, some people told us it doesn't always work and others told us that it never works! Apparently we were lucky because it sure worked today."

Eva FABIAN spoke about her race just after leaving the water. "It was really good today. The start was really fast. I had attempted to make a breakaway a few times but I wasn't able to get away from everyone. I was pretty tired but I made sure I had plenty left for the sprint at the finish. The water was really nice today, a perfect temperature. I made sure that I was on the right side of buoy #4, the one I missed the other day. It was a tough race and I felt the waves give me trouble. Some of the waves were bigger than me, but it was a great race and a great finish. It was my best sprint ever and i am really happy with how I swam today."

USA Head Coach Mike GOBRECHT (USA) said that the success of the American women today was "a result of mental toughness, this race came down to the finish and this is something that Eva has been working on consistently. Her performance today has convinced me that you have to work on your finish in order to be successful. What you do in the last two or three strokes is the difference between earning a medal and not earning a medal. Eva led this race almost entirely, a few times the pack caught up with her, and she took off putting some distance between them and her. I am sure she was thinking that no one is going to catch me. After her disqualification in the 10K event, I can tell you that 'adversity leads to greatness.' This was a great day for American women. Christine raced somewhere between 6th and 8th position but she put herself in a good line for a strong finish and she was in the pack that raced for a medal."

CONSIGLIO (ITA) earned a silver medal in the FINA 10K event this past Saturday finishing just behind teammate Martina GRIMALDI (ITA). This is the third Italian medal for the women and the 4th for the Italian team following Valerio CLERI's (ITA) gold medal in Sunday's men's 10K. The Italian coach Emanualle SACHHI (ITA) said "this lake is very kind to us this week; four medals and three races which is very good for Italy. For Giorgia it was very important to continue to swim strong after her 10k medal, today her race was perfect." The silver medalist offered these comments: "I did everything I thought was possible today. I didn't expect the American to be out that fast. I had decided that i wanted to swim in 4th or 5th position and be ready for a strong finish. The American was faster in the sprint and I wasn't able to catch her."