Courtesy of FINA and Giorgio Scala of Deep Blue Media.

Three men at the top of their game came sprinting around the last turn buoy. It was anyone’s race to win.

With Olympic champion Ferry Weertman following right behind, American Jordan Wilimovsky went around the buoy in the lead with the reigning 5 km world champion Marc-Antoine Olivier right with him.

Jordan swam a nearly perfect race,” said American head coach Dave Kelsheimer. “But Ferry swam a perfect one.”

With the water temperature at 23°C (73.4°F), 65 swimmers were competing and whoever won would have to swim the perfect race, especially with such a large pack fighting for most of the race.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, the trio finished only 3.4 seconds apart. In Lake Balaton, they finished even closer, within 0.7 seconds apart.

But the race had all kinds of leaders throughout the 10 km from Austria’s David Brandl and Great Britain’s Jack Burnell in the beginning to Germany’s Rob Muffels and Russia’s Kirill Abrosimov towards the middle and Hungary’s Kristóf Rasovszky near the end. One constant throughout the race was Burnell who drafts effortlessly with inherent navigational IQ.

When Rasovszky took the lead at the 7.5 km mark in 1:23.34.4, the top five swimmers had moved into their strategic positions with Olivier, Burnell, Wilimovsky and Weertman among the lead pack of 12.

Around the last buoy, Wilimovsky positioned himself on the inside with Olivier Weertman on his right in a three-wide pack.

The 25-year-old Dutchman beat the 23-year-old American by 0.1 seconds and the 20-year-old Frenchman by 0.7 seconds with 23-year-old Burnell right behind. With their youth and emergence at the highest echelon of the sport, the next 1 or 2 Olympic quadrennials will feature many more of these showdowns.

Weertman said, “Last year after my victory at the Olympics I needed a big rest, and many people asked me whether I would continue swimming or not. The answer was yes since I love swimming. I have worked very hard for this result, and I managed to win the gold medal. In the last part of the race I realised that Marc, Jordan and Jack were in the first three places, but I was relaxed, knowing that I have a very strong finish. After nearly two hours of swimming you feel of course tired, but you know that your rivals feel the same.

Wilimovsky was not too disappointed, “I was the reigning champion in this event, and of course my goal was to defend my title, but I am still very pleased with this result, I cannot complain about my swim. I tried everything I could. There are plenty of very good swimmers in the 10K, so the silver medal is all right.”

Olivier understood who and what he was facing. “I was very happy to win the 5k on Saturday, but after that I tried to concentrate on the preparation for the 10k. I knew I would have very strong rivals, even some specialists in this race, but my goal was of course to win another medal. I had the same tactic like Jordan and Ferry, we both have a strong finish, in the end it was enough for third place for me. French open water swimmers are so successful, because we work very hard and we have an excellent coaching staff.

Philippe Guertin of Canada finished 28th, 42 seconds behind Weertman, but in the lead pack throughout the duration of the race, only dropping off in the final kilometer. “I have never swum in a pack like that, with good swimmers in a pack fighting the whole time. I need more experience in big packs like that. I tried to stay cool, but everyone was pretty bunched up almost till the end. I got stuck in the back and tried to push the last 200 meters but it was too late.”

Mark Perry, Canada’s Distance/Open Water Coach, liked his strategy in the first three loops. “I think both [Richard Weinberger and Philippe Guertin] executed the first three laps well. Richard was in a perfect position halfway around the fourth lap, but just didn’t have any speed at the end of the race. Something we can go back and work on is to find out where we give our open water swimmers the speed they need to compete in this modern world of open water swimming, where people are able to swim fast in the pool and transfer it to the open water.”

Men’s 10 km Results

1 Ferry Weertman (Netherlands) 1:51:58.50

2 Jordan Wilimovsky (USA) 1:51:58.60
3 Marc-Antoine Olivier (France) 1:51:59.20
4 Jack Burnell (Great Britain) 1:52:00.80
5 Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary) 1:52:01.70
6 David Aubry (France) 1:52:01.90
7 Simone Ruffini (Italy) 1:52:07.70
8 Evgenii Drattcev (Russia) 1:52:10.10
9 Brendan Casey (USA) 1:52:18.60
10 Federico Vanelli (Italy) 1:52:21.00
11 Krzysztof Pielowski (Poland) 1:52:24.50
12 Christian Martin Reichert (Germany) 1:52:29.30
13 Chad Ho (South Africa) 1:52:29.90
14 Ventsislav Aydarski (Bulgaria) 1:52:30.20
15 Vitaliy Khudyakov (Kazakhstan) 1:52:30.80
16 Shahar Resman (Israel) 1:52:32.60
17 Jack Brazier (Australia) 1:52:32.80
18 Marcel Schouten (Netherlands) 1:52:33.10
19 Kirill Abrosimov (Russia) 1:52:35.50
19 Fernando Ponte (Brazil) 1:52:35.50
21 Daniel Szekelyi (Hungary) 1:52:35.70
22 Guillermo Bertola (Argentina) 1:52:35.90
23 Richard Weinberger (Canada) 1:52:36.00
24 Caleb Hughes (Great Britain) 1:52:37.00
25 Lijun Zu (China) 1:52:38.10
25 Rob Frederik Muffels (Germany) 1:52:38.10
27 Joaquin Moreno (Argentina) 1:52:39.90
28 Philippe Guertin (Canada) 1:52:40.60
29 Allan do Carmo (Brazil) 1:52:40.70
30 Ivan Enderica Ochoa (Ecuador) 1:52:57.70
31 Johndry Segovia (Venezuela) 1:53:39.60
32 David Brandl (Austria) 1:54:24.30
33 Matej Kozubek (Czech Republic) 1:54:24.60
34 Igor Chervynskiy (Ukraine) 1:54:27.20
35 Jiabao An (China) 1:54:27.50
36 Tamas Farkas (Serbia) 1:54:34.00
37 Juan Jose Segovia Ramos (Venezuela) 1:54:37.00
38 Asterios Dalgoiannis (Greece) 1:54:39.10
39 Georgios Arniakos (Greece) 1:54:52.30
40 Yasunari Hirai (Japan) 1:54:52.90
41 David Castro (Ecuador) 1:54:56.40
42 Marwan Ahmed Aly Morsy Elamrawy (Egypt) 1:55:01.50
43 Igor Snitko (Ukraine) 1:55:06.00
44 Taiki Nonaka (Japan) 1:55:14.10
45 Nico Manoussakis (South Africa) 1:56:30.00
46 Vit Ingeduld (Czech Republic) 1:57:59.80
47 Fernando Betanzos (Mexico) 1:58:16.00
48 Shai Toledano (Israel) 1:58:23.30
49 Evgenij Pop Acev (Macedonia) 1:59:55.60
50 Haythem Abdelkhalek (Tunisia) 1:59:58.20
51 Bence Balzam (Serbia) 2:00:01.40
52 Arturo Perez Vertti Ferrer (Mexico) 2:00:53.40
53 Caballero Rodrigo (Bolivia) 2:01:59.10
54 Pedro Pinotes (Angola) 2:03:26.50
55 Chin Ting Keith Sin (Hong Kong) 2:04:38.10
56 Kenessary Kenenbayev (Kazakhstan) 2:05:14.00
57 Peter Gutyan (Slovakia) 2:06:07.00
58 Marek Pavuk (Slovakia) 2:07:14.90
59 Frank Johan Ojarand (Estonia) 2:08:03.00
60 Youssef Hossameldeen (Egypt) 2:09:25.30
61 Tsz Fung Tse (Hong Kong) 2:09:32.40
62 Zedheir Torrez (Bolivia) 2:10:34.10
63 Emilio Avila (Guatemala) 2:12:56.80
64 Omkumar Tokalkandiga Hemkumari (India) 2:13:52.10
65 Cristofer Lanuza (Costa Rica) 2:15:41.20

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