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SHANGHAI, China, July 21. ON the heels of the 5K team event, the individual 5Ks were contested at the FINA World Championships today.
In the women's 5K, Switzerland's Swann Oberson claimed the title in 1:00:39.7. She is the first open water world titlist for Switzerland, and only the second medalist as Hanna Miluska snared bronze in the 5K in 2002.
France's Aurelie Muller finished a close second in 1:00:40.1 for her country's second open water world medal. Celia Barrot won bronze for the French in 2010.
Meanwhile, USA's Ashley Twichell gave the Stars and Stripes a bronze medal with a 1:00:40.2. Last year, Eva Fabian won the world title in the 5K in Roberval, while the U.S. has had plenty of medals at worlds with three titles, four silvers and now four bronzes across all open water distances. Notably, Fabian finished well back in 12th with a 1:00:50.0 in this edition of the 5K.
Open water veteran Thomas Lurz of Germany kept a remarkable streak going with a victory in the men's 5K. With his winning time of 56:16.6, Lurz won his seventh straight world title in the 5K event. He now has 10 career world titles (seven 5K, three 10K) to go along with two silvers in 10K competition and a bronze in both the 5K and 10K competition for a total of 14 world medals.
Greece's Spryos Gianniotis nearly pulled off an amazing double this year, finishing with silver in 56:17.4 after winning the Olympic distance 10K earlier this week. This is his second silver in the 5K behind Lurz, the first coming in 2009. He also took bronze behind Lurz in 2007.
Russia's Evgeny Drattsev snatched bronze with a 56:18.5 in the "sprint" open water distance. It was his sixth world medal in open water. Previously, he took silver behind Lurz in the 5K in 2007 and 2010, while taking silver in the 10K in 2010. He also took bronze in the 10K in 2006 and 2007.
Water temperature issues have become controversial at the 2011 FINA World Championships in open water. With the marathon 25K swims yet to come, The Netherlands has elected to withdraw their swimmers from the events.
"You'd think FINA would have learned an important lesson [with Fran Crippen's death]," The Netherlands' head coach Marcel Wouda said. "I, as a coach, am of the opinion that the swims should be canceled. This is irresponsible, and I hope other coaches will [follow suit]."