As the opener of the swimming events of the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto on Saturday, the women’s 10km open water swim showed all the excitement of the sport: the closely-contested two-hour race ended with a photo finish as four swimmers entered the finish chute simultaneously.
American team mates Eva Fabian and Emily Brunemann, Venezuela’s Paola Perez Sierra and Samantha Arevalo Salinas of Ecuador all finished within five tenths of a second. Just one tenth of a second separated the gold, silver and bronze medallists. Eva Fabian and Paola Perez Sierra both recorded times of 2:03:17.0. Fabian was only declared the winner after video review of the finish. Samantha Arevalo Salinas took bronze in 2:03:17.1.
“That’s what every swimmer lives for, it’s what every athlete wakes up thinking about. It’s a dream come true,” Fabian said about her win. “That’s the tradition we have with the National Team. You saw all the pool swimmers come out and support us. We have a tradition of excellence; it’s something that we respect very much.”
For most of the race the lead pack of six swimmers was led by Kristel Kobrich (Chile), who eventually finished in fifth place, just behind the breakaway group of four. Zaira Cardenas of Mexico finished sixth. With only 400m to go Fabian, Sierra and Salinas broke with the rest of the pack, closely followed by Brunemann.
“That was a hard-earned victory,” Fabian said. “It was a difficult sprint at the end and I was really happy to come out with my hand on the top first.”
The Pan American Games are the world’s third largest international multi-sport Games, surpassed only in size by the Olympic Summer Games and the Asian Games.