Greg Eggert, FINA Media Committee member

Marc-Antoine Olivier anchored the winning French relay team in today's victory in the 5km Team Event. Olivier earned his third medal of the World Championships, after a gold in the 5km race and a bronze in the men's 10km. The team credits their "amazing coach Phillipe Lucas" for their success in Balaton.

The USA team was anchored by Jordan Wilimovsky, the silver medallist in the men's 10km race, the American team arrived 12.2 seconds behind the French. Italy's Mario Sanzullo collected his second bronze medal in Balaton, anchoring their relay in a finish that was 25.1 seconds behind the newly crowned world championships.

The format is new for the Budapest edition of the FINA World Championships: each relay team must contain two men and two women. The order of swimmers is determined by each team and often women will be racing against men in their respective legs of the relay.

Brendan Casey of the USA led off his relay team positioning the Americans in first place in the field of 19 teams. Casey covered the first 1250m of the 5km relay in 14:00.3. Yohsuke Miyamoto swam the first leg of the relay team from Japan swimming 7.3 seconds behind the American. Just one second behind was Allan do Carmo who was the first Brazilian swimmer in their relay team. 

Ashley Twichell took over for Casey following the exchange of swimmers. There is a technical official overseeing the changeover for each and every team to ensure that physical contact is made between the swimmers - a requirement that the two swimmers must touch each other’s arms above the water. A total of six teams including Great Britain, Canada and Argentina took their positions in the lead pack at the start of the second of the four legs of the 5km relay.

Tobias Robinson of Great Britain was the second swimmer for his team and once he made contact with Timothy Shuttleworth the third leg was underway by the new leaders. Shuttleworth took a wide path in his leg and it did not seem to be to his advantage. Japan remained in second position, 6.1 seconds behind the team from the UK thanks to a strong swim from Yasunari Hirai. Chad Ho was South Africa's second swimmer and he turned over the third place position to Michelle Weber, just 7.2 from the lead swimmer.

Great Britain's Shuttleworth, bronze medallist in the men's 5km took complete control of the race expanding his lead over the field. A ten-metre buffer soon became 25m and almost 50m, the result of Shutteworth's powerful swim. The team from the UK was first at the 3500m mark in a time of 41:19.9.  Six teams who hoped to be in contention were in the pack but it was the amazing swim by Aurelie Muller, the women's 10km champion that led the French team into second position, but in fact 37.3 seconds behind the British team. Another 13.3 seconds behind the French was the Italian team - their third leg swimmer was Federico Vanelli who positioned his team in third place, 50.6 seconds away from the pacesetting squad from Great Britain.

In the water, swimming the final lap for Great Britain was Alice Dearng who was charged with maintaining the lead over the final swimmers from 18 other teams. That task would not be easy as the men's 5km champion Marc-Antoine Olivier was swimming the final leg for France. Olivier would likely be regarded as the shark about to feed on the minnow from Great Britain. Dearing swam a strong final leg but the inevitable result was Olivier taking charge of the race. Jordan Wilimovsky of the USA made his way to the second position doing everything he could to keep close to the French race leader. Italy's Mario Sanzullo effort was impressive as he positioned his team in third. As hard as it was for the Italian swimmer to move into second, it was an equal challenge for the American anchor to reach the top of the podium.

Olivier arrived at the touchpad first, his team covering the 5K distance in 54:05.9 seconds.  It was the second World Championship title in Balaton for Olivier, the winner of the men's 5K and the third gold medal for the French team.  Olivier finished third in the men's 10K on Tuesday and will leave Budapest with three medals.  Muller who swam the third leg of this relay was the winner of the women's 10K, her second hold medal.  Teammates Oceane Cassignol, the first swimmer and Logan Fontaine who swam the second leg will join the two double gold medalists on the highest step on the podium - first world championship titles for each of these two athletes.

Second to the finish was the team from the USA who arrived 12.2 seconds behind the French champions. Wilimovsky led the USA to the silver medal; a second silver for Wilimovsky who finished .1 tenth of a second behind Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands in the men's 10km race. Twichell, the USA's second swimmer, a world champion in yesterday's 5km for women, earns her second medal in Balaton. Casey who led off the relay and third leg swimmer Haley Anderson will receive their first world championship medals in Hungary. 

Arriving 25.1 seconds behind the winners, were the Italian quartet anchored by Sanzullo to achieve third place. Sanzullo is now a double bronze medallist; he owns a bronze medal from the 5km event held last Saturday. Joining their teammates on the medals podium will be leadoff swimmer Rachele Bruni who finished 5th place in the women's 10km last Sunday and Giulia Gabbrielleschi who swam the second leg for the Italian team. 

The French anthem was played for the third time in Balaton this week. Although the format of the 5km Team Event is different from the three past editions, it is the first French medal in the 5km Team Event. The USA won the first edition held in Shanghai in 2011 followed by consecutive world championship titles by the athletes from Germany in 2013 Barcelona and 2105 Kazan.

The athletes swam in 25.4 degree water that continues to warm with the bright sunny summer weather in Balaton. The air temperature was 27 degrees at the start of today's race.

5km MIXED RELAY - Thursday, July 19

Gold  FRANCE  54:05.9 - 14:28.2 (11) / 27.50.0 (4) / 41.57.2 (2)
Silver  USA  54.18.1 - 14:00.2 (1) / 28.06.8 (5) / 42.12.6 (5) - 54.18.1  +12.2
Bronze ITALY  54.31.0 - 14:32.7 (14) / 28.47.5 (13) / 42.10 (3) - +25.1

Medals won in Open Water Swimming

5km MEN - Saturday, July 15

Gold  OLIVIER, FRA  54.31.4
Silver  SANZULLO, ITA  +.7
Bronze  SHUTTLEWORTH, GBR  +10.7

10km WOMEN - Sunday, July 16

Gold  MULLER, FRA  2:00.13.7
Silver  AREVALO, ECU  +3.3
Bronze  BRIDI, ITA  +3.5

10km MEN - Tuesday, July 18

Gold  WEERTMAN, NED - 1:51.58
Silver  WILIMOVSKY, USA  +.1
Bronze  OLIVIER, FRA  +.7

5km WOMEN - Wednesday, July 18

Gold  TWICHELL, USA - 59.07.0
Silver  MULLER, FRA  +3.5
Bronze  CUNHA, BRA  +4.4

QUOTES

Oceane Cassignol (FRA), gold

“I felt some pressure before the race, since being the first swimmer in the team event is not easy. That’s why I was a little bit nervous, but in the end we managed to win the gold medal”.

 
Marc-Antoine Olivier (FRA), gold

 “I won the gold medal here in the 5km, and the bronze medal in the 10km, but I was still very motivated, since winning for my country with the team is a great feeling. Open water swimming is kind of an individual sport so actually it is fun to work with your teammates. Every time when we take the cap our goal is to win outside. I think we all swam really well and we swam the races the way we wanted”.

 
Haley Anderson (USA), silver

“After the 5km that was not a successful race for me, I was very happy to win a medal in the team event. I like this new formula, since there are more tactics, and it is more exciting. We were struggling a little bit at the relays but it was pretty much new for all. It gives more fun when we race for each other. Our tactics worked well as everybody can figure out from our result”.

 
Brendan Casey (USA), silver

“My goal is always to win the race, but I am still happy with this silver medal”.

 
Rachele Bruni (ITA), bronze

“I’ve been here in Balatonfured a couple of times before, and I love the venue, the city, everything is beautiful. I was a little bit disappointed after the 10km, because I made some small mistakes”.

Federico Vanelli (ITA), bronze

“Rachele and Giulia did a great job, so I was in a relative good position as the third swimmer. We have a strong team, we are very happy with the bronze medal”.