The pressure is on at the World Championships. Prestige, money, and pride are on the line. Athletes have trained for years for these races. Coaches have spent decades on pool decks and seashores dedicated to their athletes. Parents have spent significant money and time on nurturing their children to reach the pinnacle of the aquatic world.

You could here a pin drop in the call room,” recalls Shelley Taylor-Smith who has served on FINA committees since 1991. The athletes were primed for the race of their lives.

Some swimmers met their expectations. Others sadly did not. It is always a mixed bag at the world championships. Tear flow: some out of sadness and disappointment. Others out of joy. Athletes like Cara Baker of New Zealand swam very well and placed high. Others like Martina Grimaldi of Italy were unexpectedly out of the money.

And that is the beauty of open water swimming; the uncertainty, the unexpected, the unknown. More to come over the next week.

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