The toughest race of the 15th FINA World Championships, the 25 km in open water, now has its winners. After 4 hours, 47 minutes and 27 seconds swimming in the waters of Port Vell in Barcelona, an extraordinary feat in this water marathon, the German Thomas Lurz has been the first to stop the clock at the finishing line at Moll de la Fusta. 20 minutes later the Italian Martina Grimaldi came in as the new world champion in the female category.
In an extremely quick race in which eight swimmers finished below the five hour mark, Thomas Peter Lurz, the dominator of the open water in recent years, beat the Belgian Bryan Ryckeman and the Russian Evegenii Drattcev in a tight final sprint. They won silver and bronze respectively. With this new title, Lurz has completed a successful visit to Barcelona 2013 with a collection of two golds (25 km and 5 km teams) a silver (10 km) and a bronze (5 km) in the four races disputed.
“I was lucky to arrive first because we were all together but I was in the middle between other swimmers and I had a little bit of space. Tha last hundred meters I was in so much pain, I closed my eyes and I just pushed and I gave the best”, has said Lurz.
The German long-distance swimmer, that has accumulated 25 international podiums between world and European Championships and Olympic Games, made the most of a mistake by other favourite Spyridon Giannotis. The Greek swimmer, gold in the 10 km and silver in the 5 km teams, had to go back in the last lap to go round a buoy that he had missed. At this point, Giannotis was leading the race, but this incomprehensible lapse of concentration gave Ryckeman and Drattcev the lead. However they were not able to withstand the final sprint from Lurz.
Giannotis brought out his fighting character and with an explosive reaction managed to get into the leading group again, but this effort meant that he could not keep up with the pace of his rivals in the final sprint. The Greek finished in 6th position at 4.3 seconds behind Lurz, preceded by the American Alexander Maxxwell and the Brazilian Allan Do Carmo.
The female race also ended in a tight finish won out by Italian Martina Grimaldi over German Angela Maurer (bronze in 10k) by just a tenth of a second, on the latter’s 38th birthday. Grimaldi, thirteen years younger than the German swimmer, claims her second medal in a FINA World Championships, which she adds to the silver she clinched in Shanghai 2011.
“I felt very good during the race, getting this gold medal is amazing, and today is a great day in my life. Until today I was a bit upset in this World Championship, but at the end is the best because I could get the gold medal. The value of this medal is priceless”, has said Grimaldi.
Eva Mariel Fabian (USA) was third touching the pad just 7 tenths of a second behind Grimaldi. Also Italian Alice Franco was third, and Ana Marcela Cunha, who stood as one of the favorites after her two previous medals in Barcelona 2013 was sixth.