PHOENIX, Arizona, July 20. THE Court of Arbitration for Sport has begun its hearing to determine if the Brazilian swimming federation was right in imposing a warning on four athletes, including reigning world champion Cesar Cielo, who tested positive for the diuretic furosemide a couple of months ago. FINA had appealed the decision, and the court is expected to announce its ruling Friday evening Shanghai time. At stake is not only Cielo's participation in the world championships, but next year's Olympics. If the court issues a suspension of more than six months, Cielo and the three other athletes would not be able to participate in the London Games, as well as the Rio Games in 2016, according to IOC Rule 45. That rule keeps athletes who get more than six months suspension out of two consecutive Olympics. We'll bring you news from the ruling when it happens on swimmingworld.com.
Spyros Gianniotis of Greece is the world champion in the men's 10K open water swim after passing Germany's Thomas Lurz in the final meters. Gianniotis has never been on the podium in the 10K at the open water world championships before, with today's win marking the first medal for Greece in the event. Lurz finished second in the race, with Sergey Bolshakov of Russia taking third. The race was not just for medals, but for places in the 10K Olympic race next year. Russia and Germany got two entries into the London Olympics, with Bolshakov and former world champion Vladimir Dyatchin set to represent Mother Russia, and Lurz and Andreas Waschburger ready to compete in the Olympics for Germany.
The United States got its first Olympian on the roster, as Alex Meyer touched the pad for fourth place, just a little more than a second behind third place. Meyer said in an interview that he fell behind the pack during the feedings and was surprised he was able to catch up with the leaders. Sean Ryan finished in 25th place. Olympic qualifying rules stipulate that the US won't be able to add another athlete to the 10K swim, so Meyer will be the lone American representative, and all countries other than Russia and Germany will only be able to have one athlete in the open water race as well.
Here are the other athletes that earned automatic qualifying to the men's Olympic 10K race: Ky Hurst, Francisco Jodar, Brian Ryckeman, Julien Sauvage.
Natalia Ishchenko has no peer in synchronized swimming. She picked up the gold medal in the solo routine today, beating Spain's Andrea Fuentes and China's Sun Wenyan. This marks the 14th gold medal at a world championships for the Russian, with more events to come later this week.
No medals were awarded in diving today, with only the prelims and semifinals of the women's 10-meter individual event held. Not surprisingly, China is 1-2 after qualifying, with Hu Yadan and defending silver medalist Chen Ruolin far and away the class of the field. Defending champion Paola Espinosa of Spain will take the third qualifying spot. The United States' Brittany Viola squeaked into the final with a 12th-place finish in semis. According to FINA rules, the top 12 earned automatic qualification to the Olympic Games in the 10-meter, so Viola becomes the first American diver put on the Olympic roster.
Things aren't going as well for the American men's water polo team. They lost their second match today to Italy with a score of 8-5. They face an uphill battle, as they must win the next preliminary match against Kazhakstan in order to be considered for a spot in the quarterfinals. Hungary, who has won the past three Olympic gold medals, beat Kazakhstan 16-5 today, and they did it without arguably the best defensive player in history. Tamas Kasas announced last month that he was retiring after 18 years on the Hungarian national team. Kasas said he didn't have the energy to play at his best in the championship season, and that at 35 years old, his motivation isn't as high as it used to be.
Serbia, the defending champion, had no problems in their match against Romania, winning 12-5.