4 For 4 Equals 25 In Eilat, Israel

4 For 4 Equals 25 In Eilat, Israel

At the European Open Water Swimming Championships, international superstar Thomas Lurz won his fourth consecutive European 10K gold medal in a typical fashion, holding off a fast-closing field in Israel’s Red Sea.

The victory for the King of the Sea was well-deserved at Royal Beach and was, incredibly, he 25th international medal. With excellent weather conditions in 26°C (78-79°F) water, Thomas finished in 1:53:18.2 over long-time Russian rival Vladimir Dyatchin (1:53:20.0) and Ukraine’s Igor Snitko (1:53:21.5). Evgeny Drattsev of Russia and Nicola Bolzonello of Italy just missed the medal podium in fourth and fifth position respectively.

As is typical, the race saw several men pull the train from the front. During the first half, Italian and French swimmers took turns sharing the lead. At one point, the French men took different lines, creating two packs mirroring each other. But like the sun coming up every day, the normal order of business was starting: Thomas started to inch his way up the field and positioned himself near the front.

At the beginning of the last lap, Belgium’s Brian Ryckeman tried to hold off the fast-charging German who came flying down the finish chute.

Thomas was humble and gracious as usual, “The fourth gold in a row makes me very proud, because the 10K race is an Olympic event but also because between my first title in 2006 and the one today there are six years. My tactic was to stay within the pack during the first half of the race, and to move then towards the top. I knew that Dyatchin is a strong finisher, this is why I had to be in the lead ahead of the two last buoys and to stay very concentrated in order to avoid any mistake.”

Vladimir was analytical about the race, “The 2011 season was very long for me. I was in better shape here at the European Cup in May. Nevertheless, I tried hard to pass Lurz about 20m before the finish, but I couldn’t manage. I clearly gave up and then made sure to keep the second position.” At 28 years old, Vladimir was the young man among his podium peers with Thomas at 32 and Igor at 33.

Igor was clearly happy about his first European championship medal in the open water, “This bronze medal comes as a total surprise.”

The Eilat competition is clearly one of the world’s most competitive events with a total of 24 medal winners (both male and female) from either the Olympic Games, World Championships or European Championships competing in the seven races this week.

The European Open Water Swimming Championships can be seen live as a webcast from Eilat here.

Watch it live as the 32-year-old German sensation keeps on rolling.

The final results:

1. LURZ Thomas (GER) 1:53:18.2
2. DYATCHIN Vladimir (RUS) 1:53:20.0
3. SNITKO Igor (UKR) 1:53:21.5
4. DRATTSEV Evgeny (RUS) 1:53:25.0
5. BOLZONELLO Nicola (ITA) 1:53:26.1
6. HERVAS Francisco Jose (ESP) 1:53:26.3
7. STOYCHEV Petar (BUL) 1:53:26.7
8. GERCSÁK Csaba (HUN) 1:53:28.8
9. PODYAKOV Artem (RUS) 1:53:29.5
10. DMITRIEV Michael (ISR) 1:53:31.7
11. BRYAN Chris (IRL) 1:53:31.9
12. CATTIN VIDAL Damien (FRA) 1:53:33.2
13. REICHERT Christian (GER) 1:53:34.6
14. RUFFINI Simone (ITA) 1:53:35.7
15. POŠMOURNÝ Jan (CZE) 1:53:38.2
16. RYCKEMAN Brian (BEL) 1:53:41.0
17. FRAYSSE Sebastien (FRA) 1:53:41.2
18. GASPAR Vasco (POR) 1:53:43.4
19. CHERVYNSKIY Igor (UKR) 1:54:17.5
20. KUTASI Gergely (HUN) 1:54:18.7
21. VÍTEK Rostislav (CZE) 1:54:22.2
22. CASTET Jonatan (ESP) 1:54:24.0
23. SAFRA Yuval (ISR) 1:54:47.8
24. RESMAN Shahar (ISR) 1:54:48.1
25. LAVRENTYEV Arseniy (POR) 1:55:03.3
26. RIBEIRO Hugo (POR) 1:57:09.5
27. BALOUN Karel (CZE) 1:57:26.0

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones