10 August 15:08 (BST)

Ladies first as Netherlands plan mixed team relay strategy in open water swimming

GLASGOW – Netherlands are banking on a ‘ladies first’ strategy in the mixed team relay as they go searching for more gold medals in the open water swimming competition at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park on Saturday.

Teams of two men and two women are required for the event, which is swum over four 1.25km circuits, but in no particular order.

Dutch 10km winners Ferry WEERTMAN and Sharon VAN ROUWENDAAL, who also took the 5km title, are joined by 10km bronze medallist Esmee VERMEULEN and Pepijn Maxime SMITS.

"It’s the first time we’ve done the team relay so we’re kind of guessing and we will see tomorrow,” VERMEULEN said after training on Friday.

"We have just been practising the takeover and having fun. This is my first year as an open water swimmer so it’s about getting more experience.”

Germany are the only other team to opt for an identical strategy with 5km bronze medallist Leonie BECK and Sarah KOEHLER earmakred for the first two legs.

“This is my first championships in open water,” KOEHLER said. “I will try to be fast in the relay and get the best result I can.”

The format of the team competition has changed since the last European Championships in 2016 (in Hoorn, Netherlands) when three swimmers raced together.

World champions France are favourites with Netherlands, Italy and Great Britain all expected to challenge.

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