10km events 22 July 2009 – Ostia Beach in Rome
Olympic medallist Keri-Anne Payne dominated the World Championship 10km open water event in Rome to give the British Gas Team a second gold medal in as many days. It was clear from the outset the Stockport ITC/Metro swimmer wanted to go one better than the silver medal she won in Beijing last year and with a strong performance ensured the gold medal in a time 2hrs 1min 37secs.
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Payne led from start to finish over a sea course off the beach resort of Ostia that sweltered amid temperatures of over 30C. Despite the heat, Payne controlled the race throughout and when finally challenged for position, while coming around the final buoy for the finish, she simply kicked for home to deny the threat.
With the finish in sight, Payne went again and stretched her lead over the chasing group to five metres at the touch and in doing so continued an impressive opening week for the British Gas Team at the World Championships.
“It feels amazing to be World Champion,” said Payne. “I was anxious but excited coming into the event. There’s a lot more pressure on me since my Olympic silver medal swim and I felt it before the race today. Every single open water swim you do is different but I had done a lot of good training leading into it and that gave me confidence knowing the hard work had been done. My focus this season has actually been on sprint work to try to improve my speed for the pool events but it helped me a lot in what was a close and hard-fought finish.”
A determined Payne had expected defending champion and Olympic gold medallist Larissa Ilchenko to challenge for the title but the Russian was forced to withdraw limping from the course after about 6km due to the injury to her upper left leg which had already restricted her sprint in the 5km event.
“I didn’t know that Larissa (Ilchenko) had pulled out of the race. It’s bit of a shame in a way because I really wanted to go head-to-head with her today” explained a disappointed Payne.
“My race plan was to go out from the front to make sure I didn’t get trapped in the pack. You can lose a lot of energy when you’re fighting for room and position and I didn’t want that in this heat.”
The silver medal went to Russian Ekatarina Seliverstova in a time of 2:01:38.0, Italy’s Martina Grimaldi took the bronze in 2:01:38.6 and British Gas team mate Katy Whitfield (Stockport ITC/Metro) finished her first major international 10km event in 35th place just a minute down in 2:02:37.
Thomas Lurz (GER) won his second gold medal in the men’s 10km for his twelfth medal from FINA World Championships, six of which have been gold. In the 10km alone, he has medalled five times since 2004, taking gold twice. Finishing in the silver and bronze medal positions were the two American competitors in the event: Andrew Gemmell and Francis Crippen, respectively. These two reached the top-3 after making dramatic surges to the end within the last 500m of the race.
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Result times were pending.
Click to view results from Day 2