BERLIN, Germany, August 13. SHARON Van Rouwendaal and Daniel Fogg both won their first European titles today, with Van Rouwendaal’s coming in the women’s 10K open water swim and Fogg beating an impressive field to win the men’s 5K.
Both gold medalists came from impressive pool swimming backgrounds, with Fogg finishing eighth in the 1500 at the 2012 Olympics. The Brit would go on to place fifth in the 10K swim in London. As for Holland’s Van Rouwendaal, this is her first major foray into open water swimming. She’s had much success in the pool in backstroke, winning bronze in the 200 back at the 2011 long course world championships.
Fogg had no peer in the 5K, winning by 20 seconds in a time of 53 minutes, 41.4 seconds. The host team went 2-3 in the event as Rob Muffels got silver in 54:01.8. Thomas Lurz, the reigning Swimming World Magazine Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year, took bronze in 54:02.6. That’s his eighth open water medal at the European championships, four of which are gold including a win in the 5K in 2006. Notably, Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands, a rising star in the distance pool events, was disqualified in the event along with France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier.
Van Rouwendaal beat reigning Olympic champion Eva Risztov of Hungary in a much closer battle in the women’s 10K, as the Netherlands secured the first gold of the championships with a time of one hour, 56 minutes and 6.9 seconds. Risztov had the lead at the halfway point, but the open water veteran couldn’t overcome Van Rouwendaal’s closing speed and finished 1.1 seconds behind. Also in the race was Italy’s Aurora Ponsele, who hit the pad just five tenths of a second behind Risztov.
A bit of a scare took place in the women’s 5K when officials noticed Poland’s Natalie Charlos not moving in the water during the race. She was brought to land by rescuers and is reportedly conscious. Various media reports indicate Charlos exhausted herself in the race and passed out about three-quarters of the way through the race.