12 Aug 2018

Loch Lomond turns oranje as Netherlands finish top of the medals table in open water

Two gold-medal Olympians with a reputation to protect helped Netherlands top the open water swimming medal table at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Parks.

Ferry Weertman and Sharon Van Rouwendaal won five European titles between them and, out of the water, proved to be just as entertaining.

The self-styled "A Team" took gold in their respective 10km and mixed team relay events with Rouwendaal also successful in the 5km. She then grabbed the headlines by revealing that she had forgotten her swimming costume and raced "naked" under her wetsuit.

Her capacity to make headlines in the water continued in the final 25km event when she took a wrong turn while in the lead and eventually lost to Arianna Bridi (ITA) in a photo finish. 

"Four medals with a (silver)...it's still like gold today. It was a stupid mistake," Van Rouwendaal said.

The other nations became a chasing pack with the outstanding Hungarian Kristof Rasovszky putting down a marker for the future with gold medals in the men's 5km and 25km and a silver in the 10km in a photo finish with Weertman.

The only gold medal not won by Netherlands or Hungary was Bridi's success in the 25km. The Italians were particularly vocal about the compulsory use of wetsuits for the first time at a major championships because the water temperature was below 18 degrees Celsius.

"It is no good in 25km to have the wetsuit. It is totally different and I cannot swim normally," bronze medallist Matteo Furlan said. "It is too hard to move the shoulders and you feel pain during the race."