This year’s European Open Water Swimming Champions in Piombino Italy featured lots good racing that is typical of European open water swimming. It’s not uncommon in the Olympic year for the post games competitions to be a bit flat. Although many from the London Olympic event did not participate, but the 2012 European Open Water Championships saw exceptions to this general rule.
One of the many highlights from the event was Bulgaria’s Petar Stoychev, a true legend in open water swimming, winning his first European Championship gold medal in the 25K. Stoychev has dominated the marathon swimming world for over a decade – he was Bulgaria’s first swimmer to win gold at a world championship in 2011 and this was a special victory as he is preparing to move away from top level open water competition. ”Im very happy because this is my first european gold and it´s a pleasure to win it in Italy, where the best open swimmers are. Probably this is my last high level season; if I keep racing, I will do it very easily”, he said following the 5:04:02.4 race. Aarsenly Lavrentyev of Portugal was second (-3.1 sec) and Axel Redmond of France took the bronze (-4.0).
In the women’s 25K Alice Franco made it a sweep for the Italians, she said after the race, “”In the last 500 meters I told myself come on, I can make it! Martina Grimaldi won the 10 km and Rachele Bruni the 5 km, so it was my chance”. Margarita Dominguez Cabezas of Spain fought hard to stay on Franco’s pace for the silver and Grimaldi made another podium appearance with the bronze.
In the men’s 10K it was Russia’s Krill Abrosimov topping the podium in a time of 1;57:46.8. 2012 Olympian Andreas Waschburger (GER) took home the silver (-1.4) and Italy’s Nicola Bolzonello held on for the bronze (-7.2).
In the women’s 10K, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Martina Grimaldi (ITA) took the gold in 2:12:23.4 with German’s Angela Maurer just 1.4 seconds behind for the silver and Jana Pechanova (CZE) captured the bronze medal (-2.8).
5K men: It was repeat of the 10K for the top two spots with Abrosimov (RUS) in first and Waschburger (GER) second. Luca Ferretti of Italy was third.
5K Women: Italian Rachel Burni dominated the field with a final time of 1:00:56.9 – 56.6 second lead over second place finisher Kallopi Araouzou (GRE). Jana Pechanova (CZE) was third in the evnet).
In the 5K team event, gold went to the host Italy with Greece and German completing the the podium field.