Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece, a three time Olympian, wins men's 10km

Shanghai 2011 - Open Water Swimming

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. 

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“We will never surrender!”

Shanghai 2011 - Synchronised Swimming

Resolved, more than ever. So felt the Spanish squad tonight after the conclusion of the technical programmes for Solo, Duet and Team, with a repeat of the podium Russia-China-Spain in all three events. With the first final of the free routines starting tomorrow, the question excites synchro fans more and more: Is it China or Spain which will be world number-2 after Shanghai? At this stage, here’s what we can say.  

Untouchable in all technical routines, Russia has a firm lock on the top spot and seems the less troubled by its main challengers’ recent progress, Spain and China. If the Russians rarely give extended comments about their rivals, they always congratulate them. As for the Russian squad’s routines, truth is that they practically speak for themselves. Perfect synchronisation, breath-taking strength and height in all figures are common indications of their magnificent performance. In the team event tonight, they showed what they do best, scoring a brilliant 98.300 points.

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Greece finds Brazil a tough nut to crack

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

altGreece had to come from down twice to shake off Brazil, winning their Group C women’s water polo match at the Natatorium today.

Playing the second day of the competition, Brazil led 2-1 and 4-3 before scoring the equalising goal at 5-5 by halftime.

Greece moved to 8-5 but Brazil scored either side of the final break to bring the game to 7-8. However, Greece had the better of the final four minutes, winning 11-8.

It was Greece’s second win and sets it up for the final group game on Thursday against Russia, who accounted for Spain 18-8 in the earlier match.

Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA was devastating in that match, scoring five goals in a game where Spain struggled to compete.

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Is 2011 the year of China’s Grand Slam?

Shanghai 2011 - Diving

credit: Giorgio ScalaThe 1m women’s competition has never been so successful for China as the other diving events. Considering the whole history of this event (since FINA World Championships in 1991) the Chinese divers won the gold title three times. In five other editions, the victory was captured by other hands. Or “by other legs”.

This expression really reflects the main idea of 1m springboard: if the diver wants to be successful, he must have (besides the perfect technique) very strong legs. Otherwise the dives never look impressive. Women's diving at 1m is never so difficult as men's, but diving ladies have their own advantage.

When 1m competition got its first international recognition it became clear that not every male diver was able to compete at this height. Some of the world leaders were so big, strong and pressed the springboard with so much power, that the flexible metal board touched the water surface. If this happens, the springboard looses its ability to push the diver to the air as high as it could be done with the higher springboard.

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Keri-Anne Payne (GBR) earns gold medal in FINA 10km; first British athlete to qualify for London Olympics

Shanghai 2011 - Open Water Swimming

altKeri-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."

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