Italians Sweep the 5K Open Water at Euro Champs

By Stephen J. Thomas and Norbert Agh

POTSDAM, Germany, July 27. ITALIANS won both the men's and women's 5K open water events today at Lake Templin, 20 miles south of Berlin.

In the men's race, Luca Baldini, the defending world and European champion, came sprinting from behind to capture the gold in 55 minutes 35 seconds.

In the women's event, it was Viola Valli who sprinted past the finish line first, ahead of Hanna Miluska of Switzerland and Nadine Pastor of Germany.

Germany's Thomas Lurz was the surprise leader for the first 2,000 meters of the men's race, grabbing a 20-meter lead on the field of 24 competitors, but at the halfway mark, Baldini had taken the lead. He kept lengthening it for the rest of the race.

Lurz was second in 56:24, just hanging on to beat out Italy's Stefano Rubaudo, third in 56:26.

"When I saw the German swimmer pull ahead I knew I would have to change my program," Baldini said. "I didn't expect that at all. I raised my stroke frequency and was able to catch him."

Lurz said he bolted away from the pack at the start in order to avoid the kicking and shoving in the heavy traffic.

"My plan was to quickly move ahead to get away from the crowd," he said. "I don't like swimming in a pack. I'd rather be alone."

The women's race was much closer, with only three seconds separating the top three women and six seconds separating the top six at the finish. Defending world champion Valli led a pack of swimmers that included Holland's Edith Van Dyk, winner of the 25K on Thursday, for most of the race, but was unable to break away. With 1,000 meters left, she made her move and took a very small lead.

"The other swimmers were able to keep up with me for a long time," Valli said. "I kept trying to pull away but they were always on my feet."

Her final sprint within sight of a big crowd at the finish line went unanswered and Valli glided home to win the title in 1:00:25.

Switzerland's Hanna Miluska sprinted ahead of a group of five swimmers to take second in 1:00:27 while Germany's Nadine Pastor took bronze in 1:00:28.

Synchronized Diving
In the men's 10-meter synchronized diving competition, Ukraine's Roman Volodkov and Anton Zakharovwon the gold medal ahead of Hungarians Imre Lengzel and Andras Hajnal. Alexandre Varlamov and Andrei Mamontov of Belarus took the bronze medal, less than a point ahead of the Italian team.

"We wanted to get a medal here in Berlin but we didn't know which one it would be," said Volodkov. "Gold is of course the best there is."

Lengyel said he was delighted the synchronised diving had been added to the Olympic competition.

He said he and his partner had been able to practise together for only two weeks "because I live in Florida and Andras lives in Budapest."

Synchronized Swimming
In the duet, Russia's Anastasia Davydova and Anastassia Ermakova took first with 99.300 points.

Spain's Gemma Mengual and Paola Tiradas took the silver medal with 97.900 points followed by Virginie Dedieu and Myriam Glez of France with 96.600 points.


Men's 5km open water race
1. Luca Baldini (ITA) 55:35
2. Thomas Lurz (GER) 56:24
3. Stefano Rubaudo (ITA) 56:26
4. Simone Ercoli (ITA) 56:31
5. Ivan Ivanov (RUS) 56:55
6. Christian Hein (GER) 56:58
7. Evgueni Bezroutchenko (RUS) 56:59
8. Yannick Rieg (FRA) 57:45
9. Jordi Jou (ESP) 58:35
10. Moises Negron (ESP) 58:40

Women's 5km open water race
1. Viola Valli (ITA) 1:00:25
2. Hanna Miluska (SUI) 1:00:27
3. Nadine Pastor (GER) 1:00:28
4. Stefanie Biller (GER) 1:00:29.0
5. Edith van Dijk (NED) 1:00:29.5
6. Jana Pechanova (CZE) 1:00:31
7. Laura Bloome (FRA) 1:00:44
8. Xenia Lopez (ESP) 1:01:32
9. Yurema Requenda (ESP) 1:01:48
10. Denise Schrader (SUI) 1:01:50

Men's Synchronized 10-meter Platform Diving
1. Roman Volodkov/Anton Zakharov (UKR) 340.20
2. Imre Lengyel/Andras Hajnal (HUN) 315.06
3. Alexandre Varlamov/Andrei Mamontov (BLR) 300.36
4. Massi Mazzucchi/Christopher Sacchin (ITA) 299.76
5. Gavin Brown/Blake Aldridge (GBR) 289.59
6. Dmitri Dobroskok/Alexei Kazakov (RUS) 287.10
7. Alex Spyros/Ioannis Gavriilidis (GRE) 282.12
8. Norman Becker/Stefan Ulrich (GER) 271.08

Women's Synchronized Swimming Duet
1. Anastas. Davydova/Anastas. Ermakova (RUS) 99.300
2. Gemma Mengual/Paola Tirados (ESP) 97.900
3. Virginie Dedieu/Myriam Glez (FRA) 96.600
4. Elefth. Ftouli/Chris. Thalassinidou (GRE) 94.600
4. Anastas. Pavelyeva/Daria Shemyakina (UKR) 94.600
6. Beatrice Spaziani/Lorena Zaffalon (ITA) 93.500
7. Magdalena Brunner/Belinda Schmid (SUI) 92.000
8. Bianca v d Velden/Sonja v d Velden (NED) 91.000
9. Sona Bernardova/Iva Bursova (CZE) 89.100
10. Khrys. Nadzezhdzina/Natas.Sarantsava(BLR)88.500