Eva Fabian (Keene, N.H.) captured the 25-kilometer bronze medal Saturday at the FINA World Championships to conclude open water competition for the United States at Barcelona’s Moll de la Fusta. Alex Meyer (Ithaca, N.Y.) led the U.S. men with a fourth-place finish.
After roughly five hours of swimming, both races came down to the finish chute as is customary in open water events. Fabian was in a three-way sprint for the touch pad in the women’s race and earned the bronze in 5:07:20.4. Italy’s Martina Grimaldi won gold in 5:07:19.7, and Germany’s Angela Maurer claimed silver in 5:07:19.8. The women’s podium finishers were separated by just seven-tenths of a second.
“No matter what, the end is going to hurt. You’ve just got to stay in there and make sure you have enough for that final sprint,” Fabian said. “I’m happy to get on the podium for the USA, disappointed that I was so close but [it was] a very good race overall.”
Christine Jennings (Longmont, Colo.) finished sixth in 5:07.32.3. The entire women’s field swam together for a good portion of the race before the top six finishers, including Fabian and Jennings, pulled away and ultimately finished four minutes clear of the rest of the field.
In the men’s race, Meyer, who raced among the leaders from the start, fell just short of the podium when he was out-touched by Evegenii Drattcev of Russia for the bronze medal. Meyer finished in 4:47:28.2, one-tenth of a second behind Drattcev’s time of 4:47:28.1. Gold went to Germany’s Thomas Lurz in 4:47:27.0, while Belgium’s Brian Ryckeman took silver in 4:47.27.4.
“I tried to slow my tempo a little bit [with 200 meters to go] and save some energy for the last 10 strokes or so, but then Thomas moved up, put his legs in and I did the same after he did,” Meyer said. “I got tangled up a little bit with Evegenii with like five meters to go. I think I was a little bit ahead of him, we got tangled up and he just got his hand in there ahead of me.”
Nineteen-year-old Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif.) finished 14th with a time of 4:49:11.1 in his World Championships debut. Despite featuring an early two-man breakaway and two distinct pacts in the first half of the race, the men’s event also came down to mere seconds. Meyer, who finished fourth, was just over a second behind Lurz, the gold medalist. The top six men’s finishers touched within five seconds of one another.
Fabian’s medal was the second of the FINA World Championships for the U.S., which also earned a gold medal via Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif.) in the women’s 5K open water event July 20. Fabian, who also won gold in the 5K at the 2010 FINA Open Water World Championships, now owns two career World Championships medals. Her 25K medal is the first in the event for the U.S. women since 2007.
Pool competition at the FINA World Championships opens Sunday and runs through Aug. 4 at Palau Sant Jordi. Complete championships information is available at bcn2013.com.