Spyridon Gianniotis, a Greek soldier by profession, won his most important battle to date when he captured his first European Open Water Swimming title in the men’s 5K time trial event. Gianniotis, who finished 12th in the 1500-meter freestyle in the pool and 16th in the 10K race in Beijing and finaled in both the 400 and 1500 in the 2004 Athens Olympics, used his speed to dominate the competition. Gianniotis finished in 52:57.2, nearly 1 minute ahead of Germany's Jan Wolfgarten (53:55.7) and Thomas Lurz (54:04.3).
Gianniotis, who was near the lead with David Davies towards the end of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Beijing said, "As a former pool swimmer, the time trial format suits me very well. I led for a long time in yesterday’s 10K race, while the others behind me saved their strength and overtook me at the end. However, I shall continue to compete in both the 5km time trial and the 10km events."
Jan Wolfgarten, who swam in his first-ever international open water swimming event expressed his gratitude for his German teammate, "It was a big problem to swim against the sun on the way back to the finish. I hardly cold see anything. In between I almost panicked because I thought I had missed a buoy, but luckily it then appeared. The silver medal is fantastic at my first ever participation in a major international open water swimming event. Of course I benefit a lot from practising together with Thomas Lurz who gives me valuable advice. Now I may think about the 2012 Olympics."
Lurz, who won the 10K the previous day, graciously recalled "I could still feel yesterday’s race in my bones and the after-effects from the Olympics because I reduced training after Beijing. Considering this, I’m very happy with the bronze medal, and congratulate the two competitors ahead of me. Spiridon in particular really deserved to finally win a title. He did a lot in many competitions this year."
Upper photo of Spyridon Gianniotis taken by Giorgio Scala of Deepbluemedia.
Middle photo shows last turn buoy of the men's 5K time trial, taken by Giorgio Scala of Deepbluemedia.
Lower photo shows Luca Ferretti of Italy at the starting pontonn, taken by Giorgio Scala of Deepbluemedia.