DUBAI, UAE, December 2. WHEN you think of the world's great swimmers you think Phelps, Thorpe, Hackett, Ktajima, Coughlin, Thomas, Henry. One name that does not come to mind is Capell. As in Brendan Capell.
Yes, Brendan Capell, 20 year-old Australian distance ace.
Well, you're in good company if you never heard ofd him before. But all that has changed today, as the unknown Aussie, a dark horse if ever there was one, took all the marbles in swimming's most gruelling test: the 25 km. open water swim at the 3rd FINA World Open Water Championships in Dubai.
And young Mr. Capell didn't just win the race against the world's marathon elite. He dominated the race, whipping his closest pursuer, Russia's Yuri Kudinov by almost a minute-and-a-half. Capell's time was 5 hours 5 minutes 39.6 seconds.
Kudinov and teammate Yevguei Kochkarovhad ben co-favorites, but they had to settle for silver and bronze today as Capell finished off an outstanding team performance by the men and women from Down Under with Austraia's first gold medal.
Kudinov finished in 5:07:05.2.
In a four-way scramble for third, Kochkarov was the winner, touching in 5:07:59.7. The next three finishers were less than seven seconds behind the Russian.
For the first 21km, a pack of 1 swimmers paced each other. Then Capell, who finished 12th in this race in 2003, made his move, accelerating in an attempt to break his opposition. Only the two Russians and capell's Aussie teammate, Mark Saliba, were able to stay close.
Encouraged, the 20 year-old kept building his lead and, as he runded the final buoy with 1250 meters to go, he had a comfortable 100-meter lead over Kudinov, with the rest of the field well behind the Russian.
Afterwards, Capell commented: "In the fourth lap (15-20 km), I tried to give everything I had. As I was getting stronger and more motivated, things were getting easier."
Asked if his win could be considered a surprise, the Australian was clear: "I’ve worked a lot to reach this level. If you are in the race, you always have a chance to win. I tokk my chance and it paid off.”
Kudinov, who won this event four consecutive times — in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 — was visibly disappointed. But he took solace in the fact that the 2-3 Russian finish gave Russia the team crown with a total of six medals. Germany was second, Australia third.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
3rd FINA WORLD OPEN WATER SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
December 2, 2004
1. Brendan Capell (AUS) 5:05:39.6
2. Yuri Kudinov (RUS) 5:07:05.2
3. Evgueni Kochkarov (RUS) 5:07:59.7
4. Alexander Studzinski (GER) 5:08:03.4
5. Mark Saliba (AUS) 5:08:05.6
6. Jakub Fichtl (CZE) 5:08:06.6
7. Maarten vd Weijden (NED) 5:08:36.7
8. Stephane Gomez (FRA) 5:09:39.5
9. Bertrand Venturi (FRA) 5:09:47.7
10. John Kenny (USA) 5:10:09.2
11. Gabriel Chaillou (ARG) 5:15:22.4
12. Vitek Rostislav (CZE) 5:20:07.0
13. Andrea Volpini (ITA) 5:23:48.4
14. Christian Hansmann (GER) 5:36:15.1
15. Damian Blaum (ARG) 5:38:24.3
16. Ivan Lopez Ramos (MEX) 5:46:18.3
17. Sean Seaver (USA) 5:56:34.8
Petar Stoychev (BUL) did not finish
Marcos Diaz (DOM) did not finish
Simone Menoni (ITA) did not finish
TEAM RESULTS of the 25 km
(based on the two best men’s and the best women’s times):
1. RUS (Yuri Kudinov, Evgueni Kochkarov, Natalia Pankina) 15:58:19.3
2. FRA (Stephane Gomez, Bertrand Venturi, Floriane Richard) 16:08:32.2
3. CZE (Jakub Fichtl, Vitek Rostislav, Yvetta Hlavackova) 16:13:26.5
4. AUS (Brendan Capell, Mark Saliba, Melissa Benson) 16:13:48.1
5. GER (Alexander Studzinski, Christian Hansmann, Britta Kamrau)
6. ITA (Andrea Volpini, Laura La Piana, Alessandra Romiti) 16:57:31.0
7. USA (John Kenny, Erica Rose, Briley Bergen) 16:57:55.8