American Jordan Wilimovsky won the men’s 10km at the World Championships in Kazan, becoming the first swimmer to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He touched in 1:49:48.2.
The top 10 best ranked athletes in the men’s and women’s 10km races automatically qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I am stoked with this win,” said Wilimovsky. “I guess I surprised myself but I know that I have been putting in a lot of work with my coach. I was just trying to get into the top 10 and qualify for Rio, so I’m pretty excited. I knew this was going to be a competitive race and with so many guys it was rough at the beginning. I always thought that I would be able to pull away at the end”.
Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands took silver in 1:50:00.3 and defending World champion Spyridon Gianniotis took bronze in 1:50:00.7. Gianniotis, who at age 35 was the oldest competitor in the race, will now compete in his fifth Olympics.
Great Britain’s Jack Burnell was in the leading pack throughout the race but lost out on a podium place in the sprint finish to the touchpad. However, the 22-year old finished in fifth place, securing himself an Olympic berth.
“The qualification for the Olympics was the main job coming into the event but in my heart, I knew I could win it,” said Burnell.
“I didn’t get into a rhythm from the start which is really where I’ve struggled today. I found myself in great positions which I manufactured but it just didn’t flow as well as the World Cups and it felt a lot rougher.
“I know for a fact there’s a medal in me for Rio and I thought there was one in me here.
“Unfortunately that didn’t happen today but if we can get a medal in Rio, then we’ll look back on the World Championships as a stepping stone to that.”
Great Britain’s Daniel Fogg, who came fifth in the 10km at London 2012, finished in 14th place.
The top ten Olympic qualifiers were:
1:49.48.2 Jordan Wilimovsky, USA
+12.1 Ferry Wertman, NED
+12.5 Spyridon Gianniotis, GRE
+15.1 Sean Ryan, USA
+17.6 Jack Burnell, GBR
+18.2 Marc-Antoine Oliver, FRA
+20.9 Simone Ruffini, ITA
+31.7 Richard Weinberger, CAN
+34.9 Alan do Carmo, BRA
+34.9 Federico Vanelli, ITA