FINA World Championships
Petar Stoychev (BUL): first gold for last world appearance
Petar Stoychev, the accomplished Bulgarian open water swimmer won his first FINA title in the 25km event at Jinsan Beach in Shanghai on the same day that he announced his retirement from future FINA world championship competition. Three time world champion Vladimir Dyatchin of Russia finished 35.8 seconds behind Stoychev to earn the silver medal. Csaba Gercsak of Hungary swimming his first ever 25km race collected the bronze medal, his first medal in a FINA competition.
Stoychev, 35, competed in the 10km event earlier in the week hoping for a top 10 finish and an opportunity to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. His 27th place finish in the 10km, 1:14.8 seconds behind the winner was a great personal disappointment. It likely factored heavily in his decision to say that he won't compete in the 2013 FINA worlds in Barcelona. His disappointment in the 10km result may also served as his motivation to secure a world championship title in what he says is his final FINA competition.
Stoychev was the flag bearer for the Bulgarian Olympic team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He placed sixth in the Olympic 10km Marathon, 17.5 seconds behind gold medallist David Davies of Great Britain. Stoychev also swam in the 1500m freestyle in Beijing and ranked 30th after the preliminary heats.
Lurz (GER) wins his 7th consecutive title in 5km; Oberson gives first gold ever to Switzerland
Thomas Lurz of German is without a doubt the century's best open water swimmer at the 5km distance, capturing his 10th FINA gold medal in a time of 56:16.6. Lurz won his first FINA World Championship in 2005 and he has won the 5km title each of the last seven years.
The German juggernaut defeated 10km champion Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece by 0.8 seconds. Evgeny Drattsev of Russia touched the pad 1.9 seconds behind the German champion.
Lurz placed bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon. He now has 10 career world titles, the seven consecutive 5km titles, and three in the 10km. Lurz also has three silver medals in 10km competition and three bronze medals across 5km and 10K events for a total of 16 world championship medals. "It was my strategy to lead at the end because that is the way to arrive at the touch pad first" said Lurz. "My next goal is a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics in the Marathon 10km event."
USA trio capture first medal in World Championships with victory in 5km Team Event
A trio of open water swimmers from the United States captured the first gold medal for their country at the FINA World Championships in the 5km Team Event today at Jinshan Beach, Shanghai. Americans Andrew Gemmell, Sean Ryan, and Ashley Twichell finished in 57:00.6, just 1.2 seconds faster than the Melissa Gorman, Rhys Mainstone and Ky Hurst of Australia.
The team from Germany placed third, more than 43 seconds after the Americans. The German squad was composed of Jan Wolfgarten, Isabelle Haerle and Thomas Lurz, the world's most accomplished swimmer at the 5km distance. Lurz has won every FINA 5km world championship event since 2005 and placed second in yesterday's men's 10km, qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. Lurz was a bronze medallist in the 10km Marathon Swim at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece, a three time Olympian, wins men's 10km
Spyridon ("Spyros") Gianniotis of Greece, a three time Olympian is heading to his 4th Olympic Games. The 31 year old placed 16th in the inaugural 10km event in Beijing but he surely will be considered one of the favourites in the London Olympic Marathon 10km after capturing the world title in the men's 10km event today at Jinshan Beach, Shanghai. Gianniotis has previously shown his strength in the 5km event, placing third in the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne and second in the 2009 edition in Rome.
Gianniotis who felt he was in 35th position at the halfway mark was able to pass Britain's Daniel Fogg with about 1200m left in the race. Gianniotis overtook the defending world champion Thomas Lurz of Germany in the final 100m of the men's 10km marathon. Gianniotis and Lurz alternated the lead during a 750m sprint to the finish line. Gianniotis struck gold at 1:54.24.7, two and one half seconds ahead of Lurz, the most decorated male open water swimmer of the century. Lurz owns a bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Keri-Anne Payne (GBR) earns gold medal in FINA 10km; first British athlete to qualify for London Olympics
Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist convincingly defended her title of world champion in the women's 10km on Jinshan City Beach in Shanghai. Payne edged out Martina Grimaldi of Italy by 1.8 seconds, completing the race in the time of 2:01.58.1. Marianna Lymperta of Greece earned the bronze medal finishing 3.7 seconds behind the British champion.
Payne was the 10km champion in the 2009 edition held in Rome. She becomes the first British athlete to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. "It's hasn't sunk in yet that I have qualified or that I have won. I'm waiting to hear from my sister who is pregnant with her first child. I'll be in touch with her as soon as I get out of doping control. Then I am looking forward to a swim down and a good nights sleep," said Payne.
"The media have asked me if I have felt any pressure in the lead up to this race, but I really haven't noticed any. My main focus has been in making the Olympic Team. I will be swimming the 1500m in the pool next week and I may also be on the 4 x 200m free relay as well. I'm looking forward to getting into the pool to see how I feel." When asked about her race Payne admitted "leading the race is my usual tactic and I wanted to be out front from the start. I don't like it when we fight in the pack. When I am leading I have a pretty good idea where everyone is and I know that they must pass me if they want to lead."