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OMEGA TIMING OPEN WATER SWIMMING RESULTS - 15th FINA World Championships
Click this link for O MEGA TIMING OPEN WATER SWIMMING RESULTS – 15th FINA World Championships, Barcelona 2013
 
Nine Different Nations Earn Medals in Barcelona's Moll de la Fusta
 
Thomas Lurz took home two of the six gold medals from the open water discipline, claiming his first title in the 25K and leading his German teammates to their first victory in the Team 5K event.  Lurz left Spain with four medals, his new tally stands at 20 world championships titles, the most in history for an open water swimmer.  Angela Maurer was a "blink" away from winning her third gold medal in the 25K on her 38th birthday. Her silver in FINA's longest event and a bronze in the 10K added to Germany's bounty of six medals.. 
 
Poliana Okimoto Cintra and Ana Marcela Cunha each found their way to the podium multiple times in the 5K and 10K events. The Brazilian swimmers asserting that they will be a force to be reckoned with at the next Olympics in waters off their shores. Okimoto Cintra, the winner of the 10K also earned a silver in the 5K and a bronze in the 5K Team event.
 
Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli was crowned champion in the 5K.  The Tunisian world champ couldn't avoid contact with many swimmers in the large field of competitors, likely delaying his arrival at the finish where would earn bronze in the Olympic distance. Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece reprised his role as the victor, two years after he won the 10K in Shanghai.  Haley Anderson of the USA, the London 10K silver medalist earned her first world championship medal winning the 5K.  Olympic bronze medalist Martina Grimaldi or Italy earned her first medal in the 25K event.
 
 
Medals Table:
Germany:  2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze;  6 Total
Brazil:  1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze;  5 Total
Greece:  1 Gold, 1 Silver;  2 Total
Tunisia:  1 Gold, 1 Bronze;  2 Total
USA:  1 Gold, 1 Bronze;  2 Total
Italy:  1 Gold;  1 Total
Belgium:  1 Silver, 1 Total
Canada:  1 Silver;  1 Total
Russia:  1 Bronze;  1 Total
 
1.  Brazil:  24 Mens Points, 74 Women's Points;  98 Total
2.  Germany:  54 Men's Points;  40 Women's Points:  94 Total
3.  USA:  12 Men's Points;  53 Women's Points
4.  Greece:  26 Men's Points, 24 Women's Points;  50 Total
5.  Italy:  6 Men's Points, 41 Women's Points;  47 Total
 
 
Women's 5K
 
Gold:  Haley Anderson, USA  --  56:34.2
Silver:  Poliana Okimoto Cintra, BRA  --  56:34.4
Bronze:  Ana Marcela Cunha, BRA  --  56.44.7

Haley Anderson of the USA won the women's 5K race outsprinting Brazilian Poliana Okimoto Cintra in the final stretch to the finish . Anderson timed her stroke cycle perfectly and reached for the touch-pad just ahead of the Brazilian who was leading the 42 swimmers for most of the final 1500m. The margin of victory between the swimmers was 0.2 seconds.
 
Anderson, the silver medallist in the 10km Olympic Marathon at last year’s London Olympic Games, was the surprise leader during the first lap: "I didn't realise that I was going to be in the lead.  When you are the leader you are in control of everyone behind you. If I drift off course I take them with me." Okimoto led the race for most of the second lap with Anderson trailing by a full body length.  Anderson is one of four swimmers who won medals in open water swimming at both the World Championships and the Olympic Games.
 
Anderson, still dripping with water from the Barcelona Harbor was all smiles about her race; "It feels good, it was my first medal at the worlds, I usually swim the 10K but the 5K is half the distance and double the fun. My plan for the second half of the race was to get beside Poliana and draft off of her. I waited for the perfect moment to spring ahead. You don't really know how much you have left, but it was a strong finish."
 
Just days after her silver medal at the Olympics, Anderson returned to the University of Southern California for her final year and to compete on her college swim team. "I got right back into the water after London and I really didn't have a break from swimming so I'm going to take one after this." She finished eighth at the US Trials in the 10km in May and wasn't eligible to race the 10K in Barcelona.
 
Brazil's emergence as a power in open water swimming is becoming clear. Okimoto Cintra earned her third medal in the 5K race having previously collected a silver in Naples 2006 and a bronze in Rome in 2009.  Her teammate Ana Marcela Cunha finished in third place about 10 seconds behind Okimoto Cintra.  Cunha is the owner of a bronze medal from the 2010 open water world championships held in Roberval, Canada.  Brazil is only the second country to win two medals in this event
 
 
Men's 5K

Gold:  Oussama Mellouli, TUN  --  53:30.4
Silver:  Eric Hedlin, CAN  --  53.31.6
Bronze:  Thomas Lurz, GER  --  53.32.2
 
The 2012 Olympic 10K champion Ous Mellouli from Tunisia won his first world championship title in the 5K in Barcelona's first open water event.  Mellouli, an accomplish pool swimmer sprinted past newcomer Eric Hedlin of Canada and Thomas Lurz of Germany on his way to the touchpad.  Mellouli beat Lurz in the Olympic distance event last August, but Lurz has been the dominate force in the 5K event having won the last seven consecutive world titles, a reign that began with the German's first title at the 2005 world championships in Montreal, where he posted the fastest 5K time in history.
 
Mellouli had planned to take a year off after the Olympics:  "I didn't expect to win the 5K. I am really happy with the results. I took 6 months off and got back into training not too long ago.  To be on top of the world is quite exciting for me.  I'm 28 years old, I have been swimming for 10 years and I raced in four different Olympics. After London I felt mentally that I was saturated. I was prepared to walk away with my gold medal and be happy for the rest of my life.  After talking to my friends and family I realized that I wanted to do more in this sport." 
 
The Tunisian won his first medal in Barcelona, 10 years ago finishing third in the 400IM won by Michael Phelps.  Mellouli is also the only athlete to have won Olympic and world championship gold medals in both long course swimming and open water swimming events.  A gold medalist in the 1500m freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the same event at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.  Last summer in London he also earned a bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle in the week before his victory in The Serpentine in front of 45,000 fans.  (NOTE - check with Pedro for the accuracuy of this count)
 
Mellouli won in a time of 53:30.4 (take out if you don't display results agate above), beating 20 year old Canadian Eric Hedlin by 1.2 seconds.  Just two weeks earlier Hedlin won a bronze medal in the 800m at the Universade in Kazan. The first swimmer from Canada to medal since 1994 was honest about his race:  "I knew Mellouli was right there, he caught me in the last meters.  I tried to push harder and I knew that he could close pretty fast. I just wanted to stay on his draft at the end see where it would take me.  I made sure that I was right on his feet and stayed with him. I was not expecting that to beat Thomas Lurz."
 
Thirty-three year old Lurz was 1.8 seconds behind the Greek who ended his streak of 5K titles. Lurz spoke about Mellouli's speed: "I knew that Ous would be very fast in the finish, he swims about 5 seconds faster than me in the 100m freestyle."  With this podium, Lurz has now won 21 medals and is the only swimmer to win a medal at 10 different open water world championship events. 
 
 
Men's 10K
 
Gold:  Spryidon Gianniotis, GRE  --  1:49.11.8
Silver:  Thomas Lurz, GER  --  1:49.14.5
Bronze:  Oussama Mellouli, TUN  --  1:49.19.2

Thirty-three year old world champion Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece soundly defeated two of his toughest rivals to win the 10k event in Moll de la Fusta harbour. The Greek swimmer offered his recap of the final straightaway. "At the last buoy I looked behind 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 hoped that Lurz and Mellouli would not come anywhere near me."
 
Gianniotis was already the oldest champion of this event two years ago in Shanghai when he became the first swimmer to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. He is only the second male to successfully defend his world title since Vladimir Dyatchin of Russia repeated in 2008.  His winning time of 1:49:11.8 is the second fastest winning time in 13 editions.
  
"It was unbelievable today", Gianniotis said. "My plan was to swim three laps comfortably and then get out in front on the final lap. At the 8K 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. Whenever anyone swam next to me I pushed up the pace. I'm quite good at sprinting."  Gianniotis was fresh for his 10km race as he did not race in the 5K held 48 hours earlier. " I watched Mellouli race in his 5K and I knew that he had 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. "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. "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 since I got back into the pool in March."
 
Thomas Lurz was hoping to become the first man to win the event four times but finished 2.7 seconds back for the silver medal, winning his 8th medal in this event, a record. He previously won a medal in both the 5k and 10k event in five successive years, between 2005 and 2009 and he swept gold medals in both the 5K and the 10K events in 2006 and 2009.  The German has now won medals at a record 10 World Open Water Championship editions, breaking the record of Dyatchin who has won medals at nine different World Championships since 2000.
 
Finishing 7.4 seconds behind the champion was Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia who was swimming in his 6th open water race.  The Tunisia swimmer earned the second medal in Open Water events at World Championships, the most for an African country.
 
 
Women's 10K
 
Gold:  Poliana Okimoto Cintra, BRA  --  1:58.19.2 
Silver:  Ana Marcela Cunha, BRA  --  1:58.19.5
Bronze:  Angela Maurer, GER  --  1:58:20.2
 
Brazil held a swimmers version of Carnivale at Moll de la Fusta harbour.  Poliana Okimoto Cintra and Ana Marcela Cunha signaled Brazil's intentions to be the faces of women's open water swimming in the lead up to their home country's Olympic Games in Rio 2016. Okimoto Cintra touched just three tenths of a second ahead of her teammate in the women's 10km race becoming the first gold-silver for Brazil in any of the current events on the programme of the FINA World Championships. 

"I'm so excited. I have been training very hard for this medal. I have trained for this race even in freezing water, so this medal is pricelss. I am really happy to have my second medal in these World Championships. I felt strong during the race," said Okimoto Cintra. Okimoto Cintra won two silver medals in 5km and 10km at the 2006 FINA Open Water World Championships in Naples, Italy.  She becomes the first non-European country to win this event at the world championships.
 
Silver medalist Cunha said: "It's amazing to win two medals in these World Championships. It shows that Brazil is doing serious work. Two years ago in Shanghai I finished in 11th position and I was unable to compete in the Olympic Games. I watched the Olympics on TV. I went to work and I improved a lot. I am the second best open water swimmer in the world, just behind another Brazilian athlete. In the 2015 Kazan World Championships I want to be in the first 10 positions so that I can be at the Olympics in my country. I need to relax for a few days before racing in the 25km."  
 
Cunha was the 25K champion two years ago in Shangai and owns a bronze medal in the 5km event from the 2010 FINA Open Water World Championships in Roberval, Canada. This bronze medal was her first in the 10K distance, making her the 6th female athlete to have won a world championship medal in the 5K, 10K and the 25K.  She was the youngest swimmer in the Open Water Marathon 10K at the Beijing Olympic Games.
 
Olympic marathon champion Eva Ristov of Hungary led in a comfortable pace controlling the pace for the first hour and 15 minutes before allowing a bevy of swimmers catch her. The Brazilians swam past the group leaving the pack to fight it out for third place.  Angela Maurer of Germany finished a full second behind the Brazilian champion to claim the bronze medal, her third in this distance and the 10th of her career.  At age 37 she is the oldest medallist in women's open water events at the world championships.  Maurer who looked exhausted from the effort was surprisingly upbeat in her analysis of the race: "I can only say it was great; it's my first 10K medal in the last 10 years."  Maurer won a silver medal in the same harbour in 2003 swimming a second slower that she did today. She earned two FINA gold medals in the 25km event, mostly recently from the 2009 Rome World Championships.
 
 
5K Team Event
 
Gold: Germany  --  52.54.9
Silver:  Greece  --  54:03.3
Bronze:  Brazil  --  54:03.5
 
With Thomas Lurz as their "engine", Germany captured the 5K Team event beating 21 other nations.  Lurz was joined by Isabelle Harle and Christian Reichert to capture the gold medal for Germany. Two years ago in Shanghai the German team, which included Lurz and Harle, placed third. Lurz said "We had a good race today and our pool swimmers were here to support. I am happy that they were here to see us win. We knew that we were swimming fast, our coaches were signaling to us from outside that we were on a fast pace. It really was a perfect race. I think our goal was maybe to win a medal, but to win the gold medal was absolutely unexpected. I was shocked."
 
Perhaps the most interesting open water swimming event, it is also newest having been introduced in 2011 in Shanghai.  The Team 5K event is one in which each country has three swimmers, a mix from each gender, but usually one female and two men. The trio of teammates start, swim and finish together with each team leaving one minute after the other. The athletes of each nation swim closely together applying strategies and working together to achieve the fastest time of the third swimmer of the group. An element of teamwork is integral to each team's success as each squad determines their positioning and pacing. The leader of each team encourages his or her teammates to draft alongside to pull them along. The closer and straighter the swimmers swim together, the faster their time will generally be.
 
Spyridon Gianniotis led the Greek team to their silver medal performance, more than a minute slower than the German champions. Gianniotis won the Olympic gold medal in the 10km at the London Olympic Games and was the winner of Monday's 10km in Barcelona. Kalliopi Araouzou who finished fourth in both the women's 5km and 10km and Antonios Fokaidis joined in the team's efforts.
 
Just two tenths of a second behind the Greeks was the team of Brazil which has been swimming extraordinarily well in this harbour. Poliana Okimoto Cintra, the winner of Tueday's women's 10km race was teamed with Allan Do Carmo and Samuel De Bona and they swam well enough to earn a bronze medal. Australia was fourth, Italy finished fifth and the USA, the reigning champions from Shanghai placed sixth.
 
In the case of the team from Hungary which finished ninth, they were powered by Olympic 10km gold medallist Eva Ristov and Anna Olasz, who finished fifth in the women's 10km race. Mark Papp was the sole male on his squad where all other teams included a second male athlete.
 
 
Men’s 25K

Gold:  Thomas Lurz, GER  --  4:46.27.0
Silver:  Brian  Ryckeman, BEL  --  4:47.24.4
Bronze:  Evgeniy Drattcev, RUS  --  4:47.28.1
 
Thomas Lurz won his first title in the 25K event becoming the only male swimmer to have won a gold medal in every open water discipline. "I'm really satisfied with this gold. Now I have been at the top of the podium at every distance in the open water world championships," said the German. the first from his country to win a medal in this event.
 
Lurz raced a total of 45K, winning a medal in each of four open water events contested over the first eight days of the championships. "I was a little bit lucky to touch first because we were all together and it is the person that has the better line and who can swim alone while other guys are pushing against each other that can arrive first. I was lucky to be in the middle and I had a little bit of space. Touching first was very good for me. I closed my eyes for the last 100m, I was hurting, I had so much pain but I said 'now I give it my best'. 
 
Lurz is the only the second man to win this race in a time under five hours.  He is now the fastest surpassing Yuri Kudinov who was the first and only swimmer to break five hours swimming 4:55:51.12 in 2000 when the Russian won the first of his five titles in the event.  Brian Ryckeman finished four tenths of a second behind Lurz to claim Belgium's first medal of any color in open water swimming.
 
Russia's Evgeniy Drattcev earned a bronze medal to give Russia a record 16 world championship medals in 16 editions of FINA open water swimming championships.  This is the eighth consecutive edition of this race to have been won by a swimmer representing a different nation.
 
 
Women’s 25K
 
Gold:  Martina Grimaldi, ITA  --  5:07.19.7
Silver:  Angela Maurer, GER  --  5:07.19.8
Eva Fabian, USA  --  5:07:20.4
 
Martina Grimaldi of Italy won her first title in the 25km narrowly beating Angela Maurer of Germany. The margin between gold and silver was one-tenth of a second in a race of that was more than five hours long. The Italian swimmer said "I felt very good during the race and getting this gold medal is amazing. I felt that I swam at my best. Today is a great day in my life. The week didn't start in a good way and I was a little bit upset with my performances earlier this week.  But the end is the best because I was able to win the gold medal. The value of this medal is priceless."
 
Grimaldi won her second gold medal and fourth total medal in open water swimming at the world championships. All her previous medals had come in the 10km freeststyle where she owns a complete set of open water medals. She was the 10K champion in the 2010 Open water world championships in Roberval, Canada, finished second in Shanghai 2011, and earned a bronze in her own country during the Rome World Championships in 2009.  She is the second Italian woman to win this event after Viola Valli in 2001.  This is Italy's seventh world championship gold medal in women's open water disciplines
 
Maurer hoped to celebrate her 38th birthday with a gold medal but will settle for her second consecutive silver medal in this event, and her eighth in this event. She offered: "Second place is fine but when I touched I saw my name in first place. At first it was hard to accept that I didn't win the race. 'I was thinking 'what did I do wrong?' But this is sport and I am happy to be here with a silver medal." The German swimmer won her first medal in the 25K, a bronze in the very first edition of the FINA Open Water Swimming Championships in Honolulu. Maurer was twice before the world champion in the 25K in Naples in 2006 and in Rome in 2009. Two years ago she earned a silver medal in this event in Shanghai.  Ten years ago In this same harbour Maurer earned a 10K silver medal finishing behind Italy's Valli in the 10K. Her 2013 time was 28 minutes faster than her time a decade ago.
 
Eva Fabian of the USA finished in third place giving the USA their first medal in this race since 2007, when American Kalyn Keller earned silver. Fabian joins Keller as the only USA swimmers to win multiple open water world championship medals in women's disciplines, as both now have two. Fabian won gold in the 5K in Roberval, Canada in 2010.
 
 
Open Water's Elder Statesman Thomas Lurz:  He's Not Just Getting Older, He's Getting Better
 
A few weeks before the FINA World Championships, 33 year old Thomas Lurz contemplated the events he would swim in Barcelona.  Of the four events on the open water swimming program, Lurz must have had trouble making a decision.  Instead he entered all four of them;  the 5K, 5K Team Event; 10K and 25K.  His program would include a staggering total of 45 kilometers of racing in Moll de la Vista harbour.
 
The three time Olympian was certainly accomplished at collecting medals in the shorter events but he had never won one in the 25K.  Lurz is still fresh off the Hyde Park podium after last summer's second place finish in the Olympic 10K Swim Marathon.  He is the only athlete with two Olympic 10K medals. In 2008 he earned a bronze in the inagural race in Beijing. To Lurz's way of thinking he's not just getting older, he is getting better.  
 
Two years ago at the 2011 world championships in Shanghai Lurz won the 5K event claiming his 7th consecutive world championship title in that event.  On his resume are three 10K world championship victories, only the second male swimmer to do so.  In the 5K Team Event Lurz and his German teammates earned a bronze medal in the new discipline when it was introduced two years ago in Shanghai. 
 
Lurz is older than 98 of the 99 men that would jump in the harbour to challenge him.  Heading into Barcelona Lurz was already the most medalled open water swimmer in history; he is the owner of 16 world championship titles.  In fact there are only two other athletes across all five of FINA's disiplines that have earned more FINA World Championship titles than Thomas Lurz.  Both are pool swimmers who you might say are in the "limelight" a bit more often:  Michael Phelps (33 titles) and Ryan Lochte (19 titles). 
 
Setting goals before international events is something that the elder statesman of open water swimming has been doing for quite some time.  An obvious objective in Barcelona was to continue his streak of unbeaten titles in the 5K since his first title won at the 2005 Montreal championships.  On the first day of the World Championships Lurz fell 1.8 seconds short of winning an eighth consecutive gold medal.  He found his way to the podium for his ninth medal, a second bronze in the 5K event. 
 
Forty-eight hours later he would be one in a field of 64 men entering the harbour for the 10K.  No man had won four titles in the 10K.  Lurz would have been the first to do this had reigning world champion Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece not arrived at the touchpad 2.7 seconds ahead of the German ace.  Lurz would settle for a silver medal in the 10K to go with the one bronze and three other silver medals already in his trophy case. 
 
Lurz would find his precious gold in the second half of the week.  With the help of Isabelle Harle and Christian Reichert the German trio beat 21 other teams to capture a gold medal in the 5K Team Event.  The finish time of the third swimmer determines the team's final time -- their time of 52:54.9 was more than a minute ahead of the second place Greek squad.   Many competitors remarked at how fast the pace was swum, which was confirmed by the fact that the time for the slowest German, Harle, was faster than all 52 of the men who raced in the individual 5K just five days earlier on the same course.
 
On the eighth day of world championships and the final day of open water swiming Lurz would capture his second gold medal of the championships.    The clever German would allow others to lead the race and to do most of the heavy lifting.  While others are expending their energy and battling each other on the tight turns of the course. Lurz would be free to conserve his energy and avoid physical confrontations with other swimmers who might be fighting over the same path enroute to the touchpad.  Lurz saved his strength for his move to overtake Brian Ryckeman.  Lurz would beat the Belgian swimmer by four tenths of a second.  His time of 4:47:27.20 shaved more than 8 minutes off the previous best time making him only the second man to swim faster than five hours.
 
It would be his first medal in the 25K event, a signifcant personal milestone.  It would be his 20th FINA world championship medal meaning that for the moment only Phelps had a greater tally of world championship medals.  Lurz would enter the record books as the only open water swimmer to win a medal in each of the four events and he did this at a single world championships. 
 
Although there's no likelihood that his career is ending anytime soon, FINA Aquatics World Magazine caught up with Lurz just 24 hours after his 25K championship victory to learn more about the swimmer from Wurzburg, Germany and to look back at his career. 
 
Lurz recalled his first FINA world championship race as a 19 year old on Momochi Beach in Fukuoka, Japan, a 19 year old who finished 13th, more than 90 seconds behind Luca Baldini of Italy, during the summer of 2001.  A full year of training resulted in his first FINA medal, a bronze in the 5K in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt at the 2nd FINA Open Water Swimming World Championships.  He told us that he didn't swim fast enough at the German trials to be selected to swim in Barcelona's 2003 edition held 10 years ago held in the same harbour.  He admitted that the 15:33.81 time, 22nd place in the 1500m at his first Olympics in 2004 Athens was far from his best time.
 
Our Interview with World Champion Thomas Lurz:     
 
How do you feel a day after winning gold in the 25K and after swimming 45K in 4 different races during the World Championships:
 
"I am a little bit tired, I'm still hurting. I dont know how to lie on the bed and get sleep, my left arm is hurting, my right arm is hurting, my scratches are hurting.  All together those races were pretty tough and made this mistake of forgetting to apply Vaseline before the 5K race.  I still make mistakes!  The salt water and the tight suit made things uncomfortable for me in the rest of my races."
 
In Barcelona you earned a bronze medal in the 5K event, an event which you had dominated winning seven consecutive races, what happened that you didn't win?
 
"I had some contact with other athletes in the 5K and I came out of the water with some bruises due to the physicality of other swimmers.  I could never get into the postion I wanted to be in before the finish.  I knew that Sryrios would have a strong sprint. I avoided contract with other swimmers in the 10K and 25K because it only costs power that I prefer to conserve for the final sprint.  From experience I can tell you that the swimmers who are the most physical don't often find themselves on the medals podium."

When did you swim your first open water race?
 
"In 1998 at the German Championships."
 
Did you race in pool events before switching over to an open water specialst? 
 
"I swam mostly in the 1500m.  After I began training for open water races I improved my personal best from 15:35 to 15:11 in one year. My best time is 15:00.90 in 2006.  At the big meets there was always a conflict with open water events and I was never able to swim good times in the pool after competing in the open water events events.   I swam a 15:07 in 2008 although I wasn't tapered or shaved. Since I was already qualified for the 10K in Beijing, I skipped the German championships where I may have swum faster."
 
 
Tell us about your 25K race in Barcelona where you swam 4:47.20, the fastest time ever
 
"The first lap was very slow but this is open water and every race is different.  In open water racing you need to switch the speeds all the time.  Even if you swim very slow your muscules will get tired because it's not your rythm.  I think the third lap was the fastest.  I think its better to swim the speed of the whole group and find an opportunity to draft off of others, rather than being in front and.swimming your own thing.  I am sure that in every race I am not the fastest person in that race, but I am able to win because I apply the best tactics.  I knew that I couldn't push the pace of the 25K and felt that the only chance I had was to wait for the last 500 to 800m.  I know how my body feels and how my mind thinks and I have the experience to know when I can push ahead and sprint to the finish. If you have a good strategy and a little bit of luck at the end you can have a good result."

What do you think about your German teammate Angela Maurer who turned 38 years old on the day of the 25K race?
 
"Angela swam a great 25K. Of course when I see world class performances from swimmers like her its motivation for me.  Just look at her races and you will see that she swims so much smarter that others.  She has great experience and it's the most important thing in open water swimming."
 
 
Is it correct that your swim coach is your brother Stefan?
 
"My brother Stefan is 2 1/2 years older than me and he has been my coach since 2005.  I started swimming because of my brother.  When he was learning to swim he told me that I must learn to swim as well.  As a younger brother you always do what your older brother is doing.  At a young age Stefan was more highly talented than me.  He placed third in the 200m fly at XXXXX
When Stefan was younger he knew every world record not only in swimming but in athletics too. After his swimming career he became the assistant to my coach (Nicolay Evseev, anXXXX).  Stefan was always serious minded and very professional about being a swim coach. His previous job was selling insurance, but he realized that he liked coaching and he gave up his job to take over as head coach for our club.  Stefan is the German Open Water National Coach and he is not only coaching me, but also several other pool swimmers from our club:
 
 
Are there any challenges about having your brother as a swim coach?
 
"Sometimes its hard, and sometimes we might quarrel a little bit, but I think this is normal because sport is emotions and this is OK.  He is not the type of coach that needs to kick my ass or to tell me how hard to train.  I don't need motivation from him.  In fact he often needs to remind me that I'm getting older and maybe doing too much.  He tells me when I should back off my training.  I have always had a very good relationship with Stefan.  As a brother living together for many years we are close and he usually knows exactly how I feel."
 
Is the bulk of your training in the pool?
 
"I train in the pool always.  It's important to train in a group and I have trained with Swan Oberson, Petar Stoychev, Angela Maurer and many others."

When is the last time you missed a practice?
 
"Never, unless I was sick and that's very rare. This season I never missed even one practice.  Missing a practice is not an option.  I am training 11 times a week, only one practice on Thursday.  I take Sunday off but usually that's for dryland, gym, running or biking.  I am not very tall, and I don't have big hands so the only way I can beat these people is by training more than these guys.  If they train 10 times a week I must train 11 times a week."
 
The London Olympics were your third Games, what is your impression of the man who beat you to the finish line and of the course in The Serpentine.

"Oussama Mellouli is a very good swimmer and tough competitor.  He is relatively new to the 10K but for sure he is very good in the sea. He won the Olympic Qualification race in Portugal which was held in the sea two months before going on to win gold at the Olympic Games. I think the Hyde Park venue was very flat water, better for a typical pool swimmer.  Mellouli is collecting more and more experience with every open water race he swims.  Ous was swimming extremely fast and I couldn't stay with him.  He's has brought this sport to another level.  London was a great promotion of open water swimming, I read that there were more than 45 thousand spectators and of course worldwide television coverage too."
 

How does it feel to be the only swimmer to have won a medal in the 10K Olympic Marathon?
 
"I know it's a great achievement and I am very satisfied with this.  To win a medal at the Olympics is extremely hard. It means even more to me than medals at the World Championships.  It's special because the Olympics are held only every four years and there is only one event for open water swimmers.  In the pool you have many events and relays so this makes an open water medal much more difficult. Many people don't realze how much work it is training for an event that occours every four years. Compare this to a popular sport in my country, football.  Every year a team will win the Champions league, it's hugely popular on TV and highly publicized and that's only within Europe.  We need to get our Olympic sport more in focus!"
 
 
What goals did you have for the Barcelona world championships?
 
"I said to myself that I want to do something that no one did before in open water. I thought about setting a goal of winning three golds but at the moment I know this is extremely hard with so many great athletes in our sport. Winning a medal in four starts would be great.  I also wanted to win the 25k because that would mean I would have won a medal in every event."
 
 
Would you like to see races with more swimmers?
 
"Its very impressive when you see 100 or more swimmers in an open water race.  The setting can be spectacular when held in cities with spectators surrounding the course like in Barcelona.  But the course must be set to accomodate that many swimmers and there must be more room at the start.  Athletes at the world championships are highly motivated and they go out to fast and there is a lot of fighting especially at the buoys.  This is open water and it make it interesting. If I were an open water swim coach I would tell my swimmers keep out of this and that they cannot swim fast when people are swimming on your hips and your shoulders.  You can't feel the water if you are swimming on top of people or if they are swimming on top of you."
 

Please tell us about your family and their support for your swimming success?
 
"My father Peter was the President of our swim club and it was his dream that Stefan and I would be swimmers.  He was always happy when I swum and of course when I won my races.  It was a great loss for our family when he died of a heart attack while on a cycling tour.  At the time I was competing at the World University Games in Thailand and it was a shock to receive this news.  I think about my father often during my races, especially when I need that extra strength in the last 500m in the sprint.  My mother Renate cooks two meals for me every day, so I visit her twice daily and she makes sure that I am eating well.  She was in London and was very nervous about my race.  I told her to relax even if I should be in 10th position and not up front with the leaders.   I also have the support of my girlfriend Annette Baumann who is physiotherapist with the German team.  She knows very well the habits, the schedule and the work ethics of an elite athlete.
 
 
What's next on your competition schedule?
 
" I will be racing in World Cup events in Canada and in the 10K events in China in September."
 
 
What do you predict you will be doing in 5 years?
 
"I am sure that I will not be swimming in 5 years. I studied social work and received my degree in 2007 from university.  I wanted to finish my education so that I would be able to have a career after swimming was over. I always wanted to be sure that i had a career after swimming.  In January I started a job with a major clothing company in Europe.  I also want to have something to do with sport and I want to give something back.  It's sensible to have swimmers with experience involved in the governance of sport."