Where Did It All Start?

Where Did It All Start?

With the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Championships starting in less than a week, we wanted to look back at the history of the world championships.

While the history of championships goes back in various formats including the International Marathon Swimming Association and the World Professional Marathon Swimming Association, FINA first added open water races in its 1991 World Championships in Australia.

Then, FINA held its first stand-alone world open water swimming championships in 2000 in Hawaii where athletes competed in warm tropical waters, the birthplace of triathlons.

Under the organization of Sam Freas, the then-coach of University of Hawaii, Bob Duenkel of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Dale Petranech of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and Jim Anderson, the long-time race director of the Double Roughwater Swim and a key organizer of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, USA Swimming welcomed 164 swimmers from 34 countries who competed in 5K, 10K and 25K races in typical wavy, rough conditions off of one of the world’s most famous beaches.

USA Swimming president Dale Neuburger opened the ceremonies and foresaw the future at the opening ceremonies. “There is no better venue for this great event than Waikiki Beach, and there is no better time than now to show the world that open water swimming is growing and deserves to be a part of the Olympic program.”

Waikiki Roughwater Swim champion and professional triathlete John Flanagan took the oath on behalf of the athletes and the current ten-year run of the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships began.

USA Swimming underwrote television coverage of the event that was broadcast by the Outdoor Life Network which used six cameras, including one in a helicopter, to cover the event.

The medalists included several athletes that left their mark on the sport, including Peggy Büchse, David Meca, Edith van Dijk, David Meca, Petar Stoychev, Angela Maurer, Yuri Kudinov and Aleksey Akatyev, and two future 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon swimmers:

Women’s 5K Results
Gold: Peggy Büchse, Germany, 1:02:36.29
Silver: Kalyn Keller, USA, 1:02:40.42
Bronze: Viola Valli, Italy, 1:02:41.18

Men’s 5K Results
Gold: Yevgeny Bezruchenko, Russia 59:18.23
Silver: David Meca, Spain, 59:20.64
Bronze: Luca Baldini, Italy, 59:20.86

Women’s 10K Results
Gold: Edith van Dijk, Netherlands, 2:06:44.44
Silver: Melissa Pasquali, Italy, 2:07:38.85
Bronze: Peggy Büchse, Germany, 2:08:00.30

Men’s 10K Results
Gold: David Meca, Spain, 1:57:10.50
Silver: Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria, 1:57:14.44
Bronze: Yevgeny Bezruchenko, Russia, 1:57:15.02

Women’s 25K Results
Gold: Edith van Dijk, Netherlands, 5:30:04.07
Silver: Viola Valli, Italy, 5:30:06.06
Bronze: Angela Maurer, Germany, 5:30:08.06

Men’s 25K Results
Gold: Yuri Kudinov, Russia, 4:55:51.12
Silver: David Meca, Spain, 4:56:11.42
Bronze: Aleksey Akatyev, Russia, 4:57:03.12

5K Team Results
Gold: Italy (Luca Baldini, Fabio Venturini, Viola Valli), 3:01:24.74
Silver: Russia (Yevgeny Bezruchenko, Aleksey Akatyev, Irina Abysova), 3:01:34.65
Bronze: Germany (Christof Wandratsch, Ben Hoffman, Peggy Büchse) 3:01:57.76

10K Team Results
Gold: Germany (Christof Wandratsch, Andres Maurer, Peggy Büchse), 6:03:03.64
Silver: Russia (Yevgeny Bezruchenko, Vladimir Dyatchin, Irina Abysova), 6:03:33.95
Bronze: USA (Ben Hanley, Matt Martin, Dawn Heckman), 6:03:39.81

One remarkable swimmer of the championships was David Meca (shown above) who won a gold in the 25K and 2 silvers in the 5K and 10K to single-handedly lead Spain to an overall second-place finish in the team points standing.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones