Sunday, September 14, 2008

Handing Over the Reins to the Next Generation

After a wonderful week of competition in Croatia, including new 5K time trials, the weather turned on the female 25K swimmers leading the LEN organizers to move the original 25K course in the Bay (see photo on left) to a more sheltered alternative 5K course in Dubrovacka Bay (see course below) on late Saturday evening.

But conditions were still rough.

Britta Kamrau-Corestein of Germany who finished strongly to capture silver in 5:39:00.2 said, "I wanted to give up after two laps because the water was so cold. When the leading group increased the pace at the last turn, I mentally said goodbye to the leaders and thought I missed it. I can’t believe that I did enough for winning silver. That’s a great conclusion of the European Championships for me."

Russia's Anna Uvarova who outsprinted Italy's Martina Grimaldi and the Netherlands' Edith van Dijk for bronze in 5:39:06.6 said, "The water was terribly cold and it was very windy. It was my tactics to swim four laps together with the leading group and then increase the pace. The tactics were right, because I’m not really a 25K swimmer, it’s simply too long for me."

van Dijk's customary position on the awards podium was taken by newcomer Margarita Dominguez of Spain who won in 5:38:35.3sec. "It was my first-ever 25K race. I prefer the circuit-type race course. When I saw the men’s 25K course, I really was a bit scared. At the last turn we were a group of three, Grimaldi, van Dijk and myself. I managed to accelerate about 800 meters from the finish line and kept my lead."

Grimaldi and van Dijk were timed together in 5:39:18.0. As a tribute to her outstanding performances, van Dijk, who was awarded the Best Swimmer of the Competition by LEN. van Dijk finished fourth for the third time in the European Open Water Swimming Championships. In the 5K race, the 10K race and today's 25K race, van Dijk finished fourth each time. A remarkable achievement for a remarkable athlete and mother.

No comments: