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LONDON, England, August 10. OPEN water swimming newcomer Ous Mellouli of Tunisia, who won gold in the 1500m freestyle at Beijing 2008 and bronze in the same event in London 2012, outclassed a field of experienced rivals to win the men's 10km marathon swim at The Serpentine in Hyde Park on Friday at the 2012 London Olympics. He is the first swimmer to win a medal in the pool and in the marathon event at the same Olympic Games.
Mellouli is the second to win medals in the pool and open water at the Olympics. David Davies, the silver medalist in the inaugural 10km swim in 2008, had previously won a bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle in the 2004 Olympics. Mellouli had only started taken up open water swimming earlier this year, and today's race marked his third official 10km swim.
Mellouli came into the Games with a nagging shoulder injury but did not seem bothered by it during the race, going out fast in the first lap with Canada's Richard Weinberger a close second. The two swimmers finished one-two at the FINA Olympic marathon swimming qualifier in Setubal, Portugal, in June. Weinberger caught his Tunisian rival coming into the first split (1.7km) and went through first in 18 minutes and 9.2 seconds. Mellouli was just 0.4 seconds behind and Daniel Fogg of Great Britain was third.
The Tunisian regained the lead after the split and, this time, USA's Alex Meyer joined him. World champion Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece was also making his way through the pack to fourth. Heading into the second split, Weinberger again sped up and went through first. Germany's Andreas Waschburger had made his way from fifth into second, while Meyer went through the split third, Gianniotis fourth, and Mellouli sixth.
Waschburger led in the third and fourth laps, ahead of Mellouli and Weinberger swimming just behind him. At the fourth split, the German was in first (1:14:20.9). Chasing the threesome were Gianniotis and the second German swimmer in the field Thomas Lurz, who won bronze at Beijing 2008 and silver at the 2011 world championships.
Around the 7km mark, Mellouli finally made his move and broke away from the field with Weinberger, Lurz and Gianniotis in pursuit. He swam the fifth lap in 17:45.4. Going into the final lap, the four were 10 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Mellouli maintained a fast pace in the last kilometer, with the other three swimmers racing for the silver and bronze.
In the final meters of the race, it was clear that the 10km swim had taken its toll on Mellouli. He slowed right down to touch in 1:49:55.1. It was still a fast split at 17:46.7 and more than enough to secure his second medal of the Games, this time a gold.
Second was Lurz (1:49:58.5) and Weinberger grabbed the bronze (1:50:00.3). Gianniotis could not keep up coming into the last 200m and finished fourth in 1:50:05.3.
Fogg, who was third at the first split, had fallen back to 22nd after four laps but made up for it in the last lap and finished fifth. Waschburger and Meyer were unable to finish as strongly as they started and finished eighth and 10th respectively. Meanwhile, Guam's Benjamin Schulte, the youngest swimmer in the field and the last swimmer to qualify for the event, bravely completed his race and finished last in 2:03:35.1.
The men's 10km marathon concludes the swimming competition at London 2012, which started on day one (28 July) at the Aquatics Centre. Both the men's and women's marathon events at London 2012 have been won by swimmers who competed at the Aquatics Centre. The winner of the women's 10km marathon swim on Thursday was Eva Risztov (HUN), who competed in the heats of the 400m and 800m freestyle.
Results links, with splits, when available are located at the bottom of the article. Hit refresh to make sure you have the latest version of the story.
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