Action Down Under
Ten years ago Yvette Higgins blasted her name into the Australian sporting psyche when she scored an improbable goal to win water polo’s holy grail — the inaugural women’s Olympic gold medal.
With the decade of women’s Olympic involvement behind us, it’s time to celebrate with six of the world’s best teams returning to the 2000 Olympic Games venue — Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre — for another rousing rendition.
Australia, Canada, China, Greece, Russia and the United States of America will contest 18 games over five days from August 8 in the Auspole Longmont 10th Anniversary Tournament.
Australia is the current World Cup champion; the USA holds the World and World League crowns while Russia is the European champion.
Roberval 2010, Day 3 (M): Thomas Lurz (GER) captures 6th consecutive gold medal in 5K event
Thomas LURZ (GER) collected a yellow card in today's FINA Men's 5K race and worried that might be the end of his consecutive championship streak in the 5K event. LURZ (GER) earned the warning for running into one of his competitors in the first of two laps in the spectacular venue on the shores of Lac-St-Jean in Roberval, Canada. It wasn't a deal breaker for LURZ. Since winning the 5K event in Montreal at the 2005 FINA World Championships no other swimmer has beaten him at this distance. His first place finish today in a time of 57:42.6 confirms that he is the most successful male open water swimmer, with nine FINA gold medals in his collection. The accomplished German swimmer also has collected two each of silver and bronze medals at FINA World Championship events. But the most important medal is the Olympic bronze medal he earned at the 10K competition from Beijing in 2008.
Today's 20 degree water temperature of Lac-St-Jean was favorable to the German, and was vastly different to the challenge presented by the 16 degree cold water that affected his 10K race on Sunday. LURZ had previously won the 10K event at the 2004 and 2006 world championships but on Sunday could only manage a 6th place. LURZ won both the 5K and the 10K events on Ostia Beach last summer during the 2009 FINA World Championships.
Roberval 2010, Day 3 (W): Eva Fabian (USA) wins first gold medal in 5K for Americans since 1998
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.
Eva Fabian (USA) wins in Roberval first gold medal in 5k for Americans since 1998
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."
Super Final 2010 (Men): Serbia obtains third FINA World League crown
The FINA Men's Water Polo World League concluded with an exclusively-European podium, with Serbia renovating with their 2007 and 2008 successes, by conquering the crown at home after defeating Montenegro 14-12. Montenegro, winner of the 2009 edition, picked up silver, while Croatia, which defeated Australia 9-7, settled for the bronze.
Fourth and fifth places were reserved for Australia and the USA, respectively. The USA defeated Spain 7-6, which had to settle for sixth place. China won over South Africa 11-5, finishing seventh and South Africa closing the rankings.
Roberval 2010, Day 2: Valerio Cleri (ITA) wins 10K mens' event; third medal for Italy
Valerio CLERI (ITA) won the FINA Men's 10K event today, becoming the third Italian swimmer to medal this weekend in Roberval, CANADA in a time of 2:00.59.3. His breakaway sprint to the touch pad was noted by several of his competitors who said that it wasn't possible to catch up with him on the path to the finish line.
WPWL 2010 (Men): Serbia will confront Montenegro at tonight's Super Final
Day 5 of the Men's Water Polo World League Super Final in Nis (SRB) concluded with the victories of Serbia over Croatia 14-11, Montenegro over Australia 8-6, the USA over China 13-6 and Spain over South Africa 12-1.
The Serbian-Croatian game was without a doubt one of the most exciting of the tournament. Serbia triumphed over Croatia for the second time in four days, and now enters the final stage of competition. Croatia had a very good start, until Serbia took back the lead in the third period and kept it till the end of the match. Despite a large number of exclusions, the game unfolded within a fantastic atmosphere around the pool.
Roberval 2010, Day 1: Italy's Martina Grimaldi wins 10K event; silver medal goes to teammate Giorgia Consiglio
The morning of the first race, the women's 10K, opened with bright sunshine and a gentle breeze on the placid surface on Lac-St-Jean defying the predicted rain and thunderstorm forecast for Saturday, July 17th.
The 24C degree water was churned up only by the 38 athletes who dove from the bright blue pontoon starting dock into the competition course for the FINA Open Water World Championships in Roberval. The spectacular venue on the shores of lake St-Jean belongs to the Traversee International du Lac-St-Jean Organisation.
Thousands of Canadians at the Opening Ceremony of the FINA World OWS Championships
The city of Roberval turned out to show its support and appreciation of 132 athletes from 28 nations who are competing in the 6th edition of the FINA Open Water World Championships to be held starting Saturday, July 17th in beautiful Lac-St.Jean. Remarks by Canadian dignitaries and an official welcome by FINA President Dr. Julio Maglione were followed by a tribute to the heritage and the culture of Canada's original settlers.
The lively celebration included a fantastic display of fireworks and a concert on the eve of women's 10K swim. Saturday at 11:30am 37 women will enter Lac-St.-Jean to compete in the same distance that was first contested as an Olympic event in Beijing. The men's 10K competition will also include 37 athletes and will be contested on Sunday at 11:30 am.
WPWL 2010 (Men): Croatia, Australia, Montenegro and Serbia win quarterfinals
As competition draws closer to the final stage, battle was fierce on day 4 of the FINA Water Polo World League Super Final, in Nis (SRB). The Croatians defeated the American squad 13-11. Spain and Australia played a tight game till the end, with the Australians eventually winning 6-5 over the Spaniards. Montenegro took a resounding victory over the South African team, which lost 2-21. China did a little better against Serbia, which triumphed 17-4.
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