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Open Water, Day 2: Reigning world champion Gianniotis (GRE) wins men's 10km
Reigning world champion Spyridon Gianniotis (GRE) soundly defeated two of his toughest rivals to win today's 10k event in Moll de la Fusta harbour. The Greek athlete is only the second male to successfully defend his world title, and the first since Vladimir Dyatchin (RUS) in 2008.
In second place was Thomas Lurz (GER) was hoping to become the first man to win the event four times. Taking the bronze medal was Oussama Mellouli (TUN) who won the 5km race on Saturday, Lurz finished third. Gianniotis was fresh for today's 10km race as he did not contest the 5km held just 48 hours.
"It was unbelievable today", Gianniotis said. "I wanted to swim three laps comfortably and then get out in front on the final lap. Whenever anyone swam next to me I pushed up the pace. I'm quite good at sprinting. I watched Mellouli race in his 5km and I know that he has more speed than me. I pushed it a bit in the last 300m just to stay ahead of him. In the last 50m I never felt so bad. I almost fainted I was so tired."
Gianniotis, 33 years old, took several months off from swimming following his fourth place finish at the London Olympics Games. He won the Shanghai edition of the FINA World Championships in 2011. "I wasn't in good shape psychologically after missing the podium at the Olympics. I came to Barcelona after only three months of training," said the Greek champion.
"Today was a really good race. It was important for me to swim well after not winning a medal in the Olympics. This medal is for my country, my coach, my federation and my family and friends who love me."
Thomas Lurz (GER) finished 2.7 seconds behind the champion, earning a silver medal to go with the bronze he received in Saturday's 5km event. Lurz holds the record with seven total world championship medals in this event. He swept gold medals in both the 5km and the 10km events at the 2006 and 2009 FINA World Championships.
The German has now won medals at a record 10 World Open Water Championship editions, breaking the record of Russia's Dyatchin who won medals at nine different World Championships between 2000 and 2011.
Finishing 7.4 seconds behind the champion was Oussama Mellouli (TUN). Mellouli is reigning Olympic champion in the 10km event and champion of Saturday's men's 5km event. The Tunisian athlete won his first medal in Barcelona at the 2003 FINA World Championships 10 years ago. He is the only athlete to have won a gold medal in both the Olympic pool and in open water events. Mellouli was the gold medallist in the 1500m freestyle at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Last year he earned a bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle and days later won the 10km Olympic marathon held at the Serpentine in Hyde Park during the London Olympic Games.
Gold medal winner: Spyridon Gianniotis (GRE)
"I didn't believe that I could win this year. I was world champion in 2011 but I didn't think I could be first here. I was disappointed from my swim at the Olympics, I really wanted to be on the podium. I didn't know if I would continue swimming. I didn't do a lot of training this year, I started training in March."
"I was feeling good with lots of endurance and I thought I would be in good position, not first of course. I decided not to swim the 5km. I thought the pace for this race would be slower and more comfortable for me in the back of the pack."
"At the 8km mark I took the lead and worked it meter by meter. I only had one tactic which was not to let anyone swim next to me, I didn't want to get physical. At the last buoy I looked behind me and saw that I had a three or four body-length lead. I tried to keep my speed but my head was hurting. The last 100m was the worst feeling of my life. I put my head down and swam the last 100m and hoped that Lurz and Mellouli would not come anywhere near me."
"I am really happy and it has given me a psychological boost to continue swimming with higher goals."
Do you think you will be training for the Rio Olympics? "I get motivated by Thomas [Lurz], so if Thomas can do it, I can do it! I'm not thinking about Rio because its too far away and it would make me crazy. I am only thinking about the World Championships 2013 and maybe the Europeans in 2014, but I am not yet focused on Rio."
Silver medal winner: Thomas Lurz (GER)
"I was very satisfied with the second place, I upgraded from the bronze medal in the 5km. I'm 33 years old and its not easy to swim several times in a competition. There were many swimmers in this race, many buoys and there was a lot of fighting for me in the first two laps."
"I'm happy that Spiros [Gianniotis] won today. We have raced together many times over the last 10 years. He was always very close to me in those races. After his fourth place in London I'm happy for him today."
"For me it was very physical today. I have a lot of experience in open water swimming, I don't know why they fight so much because it always costs power."
Do you think you will be training for the Rio Olympics? "I need to focus on my job career. I am a hard worker, this is my talent and I want to make the same after swimming in my job."
Bronze medal winner: Oussama Mellouli (TUN)
"Congratulations to the boys today, they are the best in the world. I am happy to be on the podium with a gold and a bronze in my first World Championships in open water. These guys did a great job today."
"It was an amazing learning experience. Every time I do another race I learn something about the sport. My IQ gets higher and higher. I came up with a big lesson today but that lesson and it didn't cost me a place on the podium. The race didn't go 100% like I wanted it to."
"Honestly I felt the 5km in my shoulders and in my legs. I definitely needed the freshness to make a push to drop these guys."
"I was watching the footage of the 5km race and it just looks spectacular. All that white water in the harbour with all those swimmers swimming in."