Courtesy of Ned Denision, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Thomas Lurz received a master degree in business administration at the Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Untenmehmensführung at the Otto Beisheim School of Management in Düsseldorf, Germany in 2017.

Between 2002 and 2015, it was clear that Lurz was also a smart cookie in the open water as he was always in the hunt for medals at the world championships and the FINA professional marathon swimming race series:

2002 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt:

Men’s 5 km
Gold: Luca Baldini (Italy) 51:49.78

Silver: Stefano Rubando (Italy) 51:51.20

Bronze: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 51:52.43

2004 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

Men’s 10 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 1:54:38.0

Silver: Alan Bircher (Great Britain) 1:54:44.8
Bronze: Danill Serebrennikov (Russia) 1:55:02.8

2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal, Canada:

Men’s 5 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 51:17.2
Silver: Chip Peterson (USA) 51:18.8

Bronze: Simone Ercoli (Italy) 51:18.9

Men’s 10 km
Gold: Chip Peterson (USA) 1:46:38.1
Silver: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 1:46:45.2
Bronze: Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria) 1:46:50.4

2006 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Naples, Italy:

Men’s 5 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 1:04:32.3

Silver: Chip Peterson (USA) 1:04:32.7
Bronze: Simone Ercoli (Italy) 1:04:35.9

Men’s 10 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 2:10:39.4
Silver: Valerio Cleri (Italy) 2:10:40.5
Bronze: Evgeny Drattsev (Russia) 2:10:40.7

2007 FINA World Championships at St. Kilda Beach near Melbourne, Australia:

Men’s 5 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 56:49.6

Silver: Evgeny Drattsev (Russia) 56:50.7

Bronze: Spyridon Gianniotis (Greece) 56:56.6

Men’s 10 km
Gold: Vladimir Dyatchin (Russia) 1:55:32.52

Silver: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 1:55:32.58

Bronze: Evgeny Drattsev (Russia) 1:55:47.31

2008 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Sevilla, Spain:

Men’s 5 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 54:57.3

Silver: Vladimir Dyatchin (Russia) 54:58.8
Bronze: Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands) 54:59.8

Men’s 10 km
Gold: Vladimir Dyatchin (Russia) 1:53:21.0

Silver: David Davies (Great Britain) 1:53:21.3
Bronze: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 1:53:27.2

2009 FINA World Championships at Ostia, Rome, Italy:

Men’s 5 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany)

Silver: Spyridon Gianniotis (Greece)

Bronze: Chad Ho (South Africa)

Men’s 10 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany)

Silver: Andrew Gemmell (USA)

Bronze: Fran Crippen (USA)

2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China:

Men’s 5 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 56:16.2

Silver: Spyridon Gianniotis (Greece) 56:17.4

Bronze: Evgeny Drattsev (Russia) 56:18.5

Men’s 10 km
Gold: Spyridon Gianniotis (Greece) 1:54:24.7

Silver: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 1:54:27.2
Bronze: Sergey Bolshakov (Russia) 1:54:31.8

Team Pursuit 5 km
Gold: United States (Andrew Gemmell + Sean Ryan + Ashley Twichell) 57:00.6

Silver: Australia (Melissa Gorman + Rhys Mainstone + Ky Hurst) 57:01.8
Bronze: Germany (Jan Wolfgarten + Thomas Lurz + Isabelle Härle) 57:44.2

2013 FINA World Championships in Moll de la Fusta, Barcelona, Spain:

Men’s 10 km
Gold: Spyridon Gianniotis (Greece) 1:49:11.8
Silver: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 1:49:14.5
Bronze: Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia) 1:49:19.2

Men’s 25 km
Gold: Thomas Lurz (Germany) 4:47:27.0
Silver: Brian Ryckeman (Belgium) 4:47:27.4
Bronze: Evgeny Drattsev (Russia) 4:47:28.1

Team Pursuit 5 km
Gold: Germany (Thomas Lurz + Christian Reichert + Isabelle Härle) 52:54.9
Silver: Greece (Antonios Fokaidis + Spyridon Gianniotis + Kalliopi Araouzou) 54:03.3
Bronze: Brazil (Allan do Carmo + Samuel de Bonahttp://openwaterpedia.com/index.php?title= + Poliana Okimoto) 54:03.5

He won in all kinds of conditions and temperatures based on a cursory review of his 10 km winning times on the 2009 FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit where his victories ranged from 1 hour 34 minutes to 2 hours 5 minutes, a remarkable 31-minute time differential:

Setubal, Portugal: Thomas Lurz, 1:34:16
Dubai, UAE: Thomas Lurz, 1:44:53
New York, USA: Thomas Lurz, 1:47:41
Lake Annecy, France: Thomas Lurz, 1:52:08
Chun’An, China: Thomas Lurz, 1:55:10
Copenhagen, Denmark: Thomas Lurz, 1:57.40
Hong Kong: Thomas Lurz, 1:58:22
Varna, Bulgaria: Thomas Lurz GER 2:01:31
Shantou, China: Thomas Lurz, 2:03:15

Steven Munatones commented on Lurz’s career, “Few open water swimmers have carried themselves with a competitive fire and dignity as Thomas Lurz did throughout his career. He was not only one of the best open water swimmers in the world, but he also one of the most highly respected for serving as an eloquent ambassador of the sport.

He won everything in the sport from short sprint invitationals and national championships to world championship titles and Olympic medals. Yet he was always respectful of the sport and his competitors. Hard-nosed in the water, he was also a gentlemen who spoke highly of all his competitors.

After earning a bronze in the inaugural Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he continued to race around the world and won the silver medal in 2012.

He was coached by his older brother Stefan Lurz and was named the Swimming World Magazine’s 2013 Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year due to his unprecedented performance at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

Lurz’ track record of success is extraordinarily impressive, built on the strength of his renowned training program with 25 international podium finishes to his name (Olympic Games, world championships and European championships), not including FINA World Cup medals.

In the pool, he competed for his native Germany at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 1500m freestyle and he was also the world champion in the 10 km marathon that same year. In 2005, he won gold in the 5 km world championship when he was awarded the Swimming World Magazine Open Water Swimmers of the Year. He also won the 2011 Swimming World Magazine Open Water Swimmer of the Year, was nominated for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

In 2013, he was selected as the FINA Male Open Water Swimming Athlete of the Year.

I had the privilege of watching Thomas compete in several world championships, on the FINA pro circuit, and at the Olympics. Not only was he always well-prepared and fit, he swam so elegantly and thoughtfully. He always knew where his competition was and swam strategically. He drafted when he could and he led when he had to. He could sprint well and swam straight as an arrow. He was never dirty and did not resort to questionable physicality. He just out-swam and out-thought everyone.”

He also wrote the book Auf der Erfolgswelle schwimmen: Was junge Menschen wissen müssen, um erfolgreich zu werden (or Float on the Wave of Success: What Young People Need to Know For Success) together with Yasmin M. Fargel.

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