PHOENIX, Arizona, July 22. THE world aquatics championships began Saturday morning at the Moll de Fusta harbor in Barcelona with the women's and men's 5K open water swims. Haley Anderson won the first gold medal of the world championships with a final burst in the final stretches to beat Brazil's Poliana Okimoto by just two tenths of a second. It was a bit of redemption for Anderson after not qualifying to swim the 10K at the world championships. Becca Mann, swimming in her first world championships, placed eighth in the 5K. Ous Mellouli won the men's 5K on Saturday as he continues to cement his place in the open water racing community, holding off a determined Canadian named Eric Hedlin and open water legend Thomas Lurz. In the 10K, it was defending champion Spyridos Gianniotis who was able to pull away from the pack early and held on to win another world title. Lurz finished three seconds behind for silver and Mellouli was five seconds behind Lurz. Gianniotis furthered an esteemed record in the event, remaining the oldest open water world champion at 33 years old. For Lurz it was a record-breaking eighth medal in the 10K and his 17th overall in world championship competition. The American men haven't been as successful in Barcelona, with no medals and no placings in the 5K on Saturday or the 10K this morning. Andrew Gemmell and Sean Ryan couldn't get on the medal stand in the 5K, while Ryan and Alex Meyer found themselves out of the top 40 in the 10K. The women will swim their 10K race Tuesday morning.
China will not win all of the gold medals at the world championships in diving, as Germany's Sascha Klein and Patrick Hausding won the men's platform synchro event yesterday. China found themselves in a rare spot, taking bronze in that event behind Russia. China has taken the other three gold medals of diving so far, with Wu Minxia helping Shi Tingmao win the women's three-meter synchro springboard event. That gives Wu her sixth world title, the most of any diver in history. Li Shixin won the men's one-meter springboard event by 26 points over Ukraine's Ilya Kvasha, while Chen Ruolin and Liu Huixia were dominant in the women's 10-meter synchro platform. No medals for the Americans just yet in diving, with the highest American finish begin seventh in the women's synchro platform as well as seventh in the women's three-meter synchro event.
In water polo, the United States was able to beat defending champion Greece in preliminary competition in the women's division earlier today. The Greeks took control early in the match, and it was Olympic MVP Maggie Steffens who helped the Americans take the win with three goals. On the men's side, the Americans lost to Croatia 9-7 today. The losers in these prelim matches are not automatically eliminated yet, but the losses affect future placement in quarterfinals.
Back here in the United States we had plenty of competition going on at the Speedo sectional championships, including some national relay age group records as we mentioned on Friday from Scottsdale Aquatic Club. Another great swim came from Arkady Vyatchanin in the 100 backstroke, a 54.14 at the Orlando sectional meet. Vyatchanin is not swimming at the world championships as he searches for a country to represent after turning down a spot on Russia's world championship team, as Vyatchanin and the Russian federation have come to a disagreement.
A couple other swimmers set national age group marks as well as championship meets. Winn Aung is about to turn 11 years old, but he had one last hurrah at the Sierra Nevada junior Olympics with another 10-and-under record in the 50 freestyle. Winn swam a 27.42 to drop a tenth of a second off his own record from a month ago as part of a big workload at the meet that saw him win the 10-and-under high point award. Not too far away from our Phoenix studios, 12-year-old Seth Chun swam a -- get this -- 2:14.40 in the 200 butterfly at the Arizona age group championships, tying the 11-12 national age group record set by Ryan Murphy back in 2008.