Dutch Olympic champion WEERTMAN's golden touch lands third European 10km open water title
GLASGOW – The Twitter handle is @veryferryfast and Dutch Olympic and world open water swimming champion Ferry WEERTMAN needed to live up to that as he collected his third successive 10km European title on Thursday.
WEERTMAN, gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, won a thrilling duel with Hungary's Kristof RASOVSZKY by the tiniest of margins.
Both recorded the same time (1hour 49minutes, 28.2seconds) and were split by a photo finish as they touched the board. The result took time to filter through and it showed that long-time race leader RASOVSZKY had been edged out.
"It was just about keeping my mind clear," WEERTMAN said. "I wanted to be in the higher place on the podium."
RASOVSZKY, who won gold in the 5km on Wednesday, confessed to his error on the finish and was comforted with a hug from good friend WEERTMAN after the medal ceremony.
"It was a mistake. I have to learn from things like that, but I am still very happy with the result," RASOVSZKY said. Germany's Rob MUFFELS took bronze.
In the women's race, the burning question was whether Wednesday's 5km winner Sharon VAN ROUWENDAAL (NED) could add a second gold medal to her tally.
The answer was yes, despite having forgotten her swimming costume and competing naked under her wetsuit, although she was pushed all the way by Italian Giulia GABRIELLESCHI in a two-woman sprint for the title .
"The steward said, 'You have to change here'. And I said, 'Well, I'm naked under it so I don't think so'," VAN ROUWENDAAL said.
"Now you will see next year everyone going naked. But if you have a hole (in the wetsuit) during the race it's a problem."
Netherlands also took the bronze medal through Esmee VERMEULEN.
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