Welland 2012: Germany dominates first edition of FINA World Junior OWS Championships

FINA World Junior Open Water Championships

The team of Germany dominated the first edition of the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships, taking place in Welland, Ontario (CAN) from August 17-19, 2012. Germany's swimmers earned four out of the six gold medals at stake, and took another silver and bronze medal. The remaining two titles went to China and South Africa.

On Day 1, Rob Muffels (GER) and Michelle Weber (RSA) became the first ever world junior champions in open water swimming.

Muffels took the boys (age 17-18) 7.5km race and Weber the girls (15-16) 5km on August 17 to open the inaugural edition of this competition.

Conditions were ideal at the rowing basin with water temperature measured at 24 Celsius.

In the boys 7.5km race, Muffels clocked 1h24m59s9 for the victory with Jordan Wilimovsky of the U.S., second in 1h25m19s0 and Jan Micka of the Czech Republic third (1:25:48.5).

"The beginning of the race was very hard,’’ said Muffels, 18. ‘’Everyone was bumping into each other. In the end I pushed my hardest. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I didn’t know the field that well except for the European racers.’’

In the girls 5km, Weber finished in 1h00m05s6 concluding less than three seconds ahead of Lena-Sophie Bermel of Germany (1h00m08s0). Patricia-Lucia Wartenberg, also of Germany, was third in 1h00m27s0.

“I am very happy,” said Weber, 15, who lowered her personal best time by two seconds. “When I got in the water I wanted to win. I stayed relaxed for the first half of the race and that gave me a lot of energy for the last 2.5 kilometres.”


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On Day 2, in the women’s (age 17-18) 7.5km race, Shi Yu of China won the gold medal in 1h37m41s7. She edged Anastasia Krapivina of Russia, second in 1h31m42s8 and Lizeth Rueda Santos of Mexico, third in 1h31m45s7.

In the men’s 5km race (age 15-16), Felix Bartels collected Germany’s fourth medal of the competition, winning in 57m10s0. Diego Vera of Venezuela was second in 57m30s8 and Yao Han of China third in 57m38s4.

“It was a nice race, I feel lucky to win,” said Bartels, 16. “The pack was very strong and I had to work hard to get the win.”

On the third and last day, Germany swept gold in the 3km team relay events. In the relay (age 17-18), Germany won the gold medal to finish the meet with six medals. The German swimmers were Rob Muffels, already an individual champion, Finnia Wunram and Daniel Trosin. Russia was second and the U.S., third.

In the second relay (age 15-16), Germany won the gold with Felix Bartels, also an individual champion, Erik Cesla and Lena-Sophie Bermel. Russia followed with the silver and Italy the bronze.