Russia claimed the first gold of the at the 2012 European Open Water Swimming Championships in Piombino, Italy, as Kirill Abrosimov claimed the 10km crown in 1h 57min 46.8sec ahead of German Andreas Waschburger (1:57.48.2sec) and the man the hosts cheered for, Nicola Bolzonello (1:57.54.0sec). All three podium placers celebrated their first major international medal.
Evgeny Drattsev (RUS) repeated his fourth place from last year while his compatriot Daniil Serebrennikov finished in fifth position. The favourite, defending champion, 2012 Olympic silver medallist Thomas Lurz, German training partner of the silver medallist, placed 10th at the end of a long Olympic campaign and thus missed out on what would have been a fifth successive European 10km Gold medal.
The first gold medal among women went to Olympic bronze medallist Martina Grimaldi, in 2:12. 23.3sec just ahead of Germany’s Angela Maurer, at the age of 37 the oldest female competitor in Piombino, on 2:12.24.7sec, only 1.4 seconds behind Grimaldi. Jana Pechanova, the Czech Republic, took bronze in 2:12.26.1sec.
Abrosimov, 20, told PPS: “I’ve been training very hard to get the result that I knew I could reach. It’s a big satisfaction for my country too."
Lurz finished 10th 12.7 seconds behind the winner. “He had some problems after hitting a buoy”, explained his coach and brother Stefan Lurz, “it seems as if his body needs a break after the Olympics". Lurz, the Olympic medallist, is helping Britain with its review into why it missed its London 2012 Home Games targets.
Meanwhile, Grimaldi said: "It’s never easy to get good results year by year. It was such a hard race with big waves. Sometimes I couldn’t see anything in front of me. But I managed to keep on first place even with two great swimmers just beside me. It’s such a joy to be here in Italy!”