The Russian team earned the FINA 10K Open Water Team Trophy today powered by a great performance by Vladimir Diattchine (RUS) who captured the gold medal in the men's event. The Russian team scored 45 points which included the fourth place effort by Evgeny Bezruchenko, and a strong women's squad that included Ekaterina Seliverstova and Ekaterina Zhdanova who took fourth and tenth respectively in the women's 10K event. The German team was second place with 42 points and the Italians followed with 22 points in the team scoring for today's 10 K events.
Just minutes before the 9:00 am start, schools of fish were seen traveling in the same direction as today's course for the 10K event. Not unlike the FINA swimmers who would follow, they were tightly grouped together in a "V" like manner where the leaders were already positioned for the journey ahead. Perhaps if man (or woman) were to be successful in the water, they would follow a strategy that has been time-tested by the natural residents of the Port de Barcelona.
Viola Valli (ITA) continued to leave her marks in the record books earning her second gold medal of the week. Already the owner of the gold medal in Sunday's 5K event, she now has a pair with her two-second victory over Angela Maurer (GER). Swimming fans will recall that Valli won both the 5K and the 25K gold medals in the 2001 Fukuoka edition. She was the leader at the 2.5K mark, and also the 5K and 7.5K milestone. "I always felt in control of my race, in fact I felt more relaxed and paradoxically less tired that I did in the 5K event" said the Italian champion.
Valli congratulated her friend Angela Mauer (GER) who outpaced Edith Van Dyk (NED) to earn the second spot on the podium. Van Dyk swam slightly behind the Italian for most of the race, in fact she pull even several times, but was never able to overtake Valli. Van Dyk relinquished her place to Maurer during the finishing sprint.
"I will not swim the 25K as I did not think I had done enough preparation for the event, but I now regret that decision" said Valli.
Barcelona has discovered the Open Water events with a huge crowd that came out to see David Meca (ESP) in his quest for a repeat of the title that he won in Honolulu at the 2000 Open Water World Championships. No one was disappointed as the race ended with Meca's final sprint to capture the bronze medal.
A comfortable breeze swept through the harbor at noon and caused a rougher chop than during Sunday's 5K race. Dan DeMarco (USA) had a 10 second lead over the field near the 5K mark but he handed that off to Australians Mark Saliba (AUS) and Grant Cleland (AUS) who took turns leading the race at 7.5K buoys. As the lead changed so many times it was impossible to know who really had control of the race until the swimmers became visible when the re-entered the harbour.
Vladimir Diattchine (RUS) navigated the harbor as efficiently as he had done on Sunday in the 5K event where he earned a bronze medal. "It left me with a bittersweet feeling becasue I knew that I could have done better, but I am very satisfied with today's performance as it was everything that I expected." Following the Russian was a pack of 10 other swimmers who sprinted together for the last 500 meters of the race.
Christian Hein (GER) was able to break out first and earn the silver medal. It was the German's second silver medal of the week as he had out-touched Diattchine in the 5K event on Sunday. "The water was very cold and rough but this was not a problem for me. There was a moment in the race in which I did not know anything about the leaders but I increased my speed and I managed to reach the second position. It was a long time since I began my training for these events so this medal and the silver in the 5K contest is very rewarding to me."
David Meca (ESP) was swimming before the home crowd who had lined the pier and waves flags and blew whistles for their hero. Meca's finish gave many the impression that he should entered the 50 meter event to be contested in Palau sant Jordi next week. He followed Hein and Evgeny Bezruchenko until he was able to catch one of them. Meca's margin over Bezruchenko was one-tenth of a second. Meca said of his race: "I am very pleased with this medal. The last few meters were just unbelievable. I managed to overtake Bezruchenko and place third. Although physically I am getting older it does not feel harder. Mentally I am getting younger and smarter and I hope to do better in the 25 K contest".