Upper photo on left shows silver medalist Mario Sanzullo (Italy), gold medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier (France), bronze medalist Timothy Shuttleworth (Great Britain) at the 2017 FINA World Swimming Championships 5 km podium in Lake Balaton, Hungary.
Lower photo on left courtesy shows winning French 5 km team of Logan Fontaine, Oceane Maryse Jeannie Cassignol, Aurélie Muller and Marc-Antoine Olivier. Both photos courtesy of Giorgio Scala, Deep Blue Media.
2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swimming bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier is young enough (21) to be a threat at both the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and his hometown 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
If he hangs in there, then France will have a lot to cheer for in the Seine.
After winning the 5 km solo race and a bronze in the 10 km race, Olivier had the fastest split time in the four-person 5 km team relay. He swam 12:08.7 leg over the 1.25 km course – a blazing fast time that France needed to hold off the fast-closing Americans and Italians. His anchor leg solidified the French victory by Logan Fontaine, Aurélie Muller and Oceane Maryse Jeannie Cassignol in Lake Balaton, Hungary.
The four members of each team, including 2 men and 2 women, swam 1.25 km before touching their teammate and swimming off.
Brendan Casey put his American team in first with his lead-off leg among the 19 international teams with a 14:00.3 split with Japan’s Yohsuke Miyamoto behind followed by Brazil’s Allan do Carmo.
5 km gold medalist Ashley Twichell exchange a legal touch above the water and took off, but Great Britain’s Tobias Robinson took over the lead with Japan still in second on the strength of Yasunari Hirai with South Africa in third due to a strong leg by Chad Ho.
Great Britain’s 5 km bronze medalist Timothy Shuttleworth opened up a nearly 50-meter lead, but the major change was the tremendous third leg by 10 km gold medalist Aurélie Muller who put France in a strong second position – but still nearly 40 seconds behind Great Britain and almost 13 seconds ahead of third-place Italy that was pulled into third by Federico Vanelli who said later, “Rachele Bruni and Giulia Gabbrielleschi did a great job, so I was in a relative good position as the third swimmer. We have a strong team.”
Oceane Cassignol of France admitted, “I felt some pressure before the race, since being the first swimmer in the team event is not easy. That’s why I was a little bit nervous, but in the end we managed to win the gold medal.”
Olivier acknowledged the degree of patriotism – which helped spur him on his uber-fast leg. “I won the gold medal here in the 5 km, and the bronze medal in the 10 km, but I was still very motivated, since winning for my country with the team is a great feeling. Open water swimming is kind of an individual sport so actually it is fun to work with your teammates. Every time when we [put on our swim] caps, our goal is to win outside. I think we all swam really well and we swam the races the way we wanted.”
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