DAY 1 - October 29,
Today 164 competitors
representing 34 nations assembled adjacent to
the clear blue
waters of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii for
FINA World Open Water Swimming Championship.
A fitting location for such a prestigious event;
open water swimming has long been a tradition
here, even before the great Duke Kahanamoku
built his reputation in these very waters.
More that 500 people attended the Opening
Ceremonies of the championships at the Hilton
Hawaiian Village Hotel. Event Chairman Dr.
Sam Freas welcomed athletes, coaches, officials,
volunteers and the media to the nations 11th
largest city. USA Swimming President Dale
Neuburger thanked the organizing committee and
their sponsors for their efforts to make this
inaugural event a memorable experience for
the athletes -- "there is no better venue
for this great event than Waikiki Beach, and
there is no better time than now to show the
world that open water swimming is growing and
deserves to be a part of the Olympic
Athletes carrying the flags of each of the
participating nation were showcased. John
Flanagan, USA national team member who now lives
and trains in Honolulu took the oath on behalf
of all coaches and athletes. Just as the
sun was finally setting for the day the outdoor
stage was quickly filled with the music
and dancing of a traditional Hawaiian evening.
From the songs of the South pacific to the
energy of the hula dancers, the evening was a
celebration of the culture of our hosts.
Nearly a dozen of the athletes were asked to
participate in the entertainment while camera
crews from the NBC local affiliate and the
Outdoor Life Network captured their activities.
Six different cameras will film the events from
different vantage points including a
helicopter that will fly overhead.
Earlier in the day the race director held a
briefing for coaches and federation officials.
During the meeting it was announced that over
400 local staff volunteers, 150 motor craft, 40
safety personnel and 30 interpreters are being
called upon to support this undertaking.
For most of these athletes it was their
first international competition and they spent
their afternoon in a boat or in the surf.
The 5K competition will be held
on October 31st, the 10K on November 2nd and
the 25K event to be concluded
on November 4th
DAY 2 - Press
Release - Honolulu, Hawaii, October 30, 2000
During his welcoming
remarks to the athletes and coaches
participating in the FINA World Open Water World
Championships on Waikiki Beach, FINA Bureau
Member Nory KRUCHTEN (LUX) announced that the
international federations major objective is to
include the open water marathon in the program
for the Olympic Games.
KRUCHTEN also serves as the liaison for the FINA
Technical Open Water Swimming Committee.
During their meetings held earlier today,
Chairman Alan CLARKSON (GBR) issued the
following clarification about the awards
protocol for this championship: Medals shall be
awarded to the first, second and third place
competitor in the 5K, 10K and 25K events.
Team awards (overall) for the 5K, 10K and 25K
events shall be determined by adding the times
of the fastest three swimmers from one
federation. A team is defined as two
male and two female swimmers per event who are
from the same federation.
Overall team awards, one for male and one for
female, shall be based on the total cumulative
point score over all races according to the
following point distribution: 1st to 12th
places: 18 points, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6,
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
DAY 3 -
October 31, 2000
FINA crowned its first two
individual champions today at the Open Water Swimming World Championships
in Honolulu, Hawaii (USA), with Peggy BUSCHE of
Germany and Evgeuni BEZROOTCHENKO (RUS) capturing
the the 5-kilometer
The blue waters of the Pacific, just off the
famous Waikiki Beach, offered a great challenge
for 24 women and 34 men competing in this event.
Athletes, coaches, officials and spectators
converged on Honolulu for the first FINA
World Open Water Swimming Championships.
Like women's marathon running in the early 1980s,
open water swimming is not yet an Olympic event,
but these inaugural championships in Hawaii might
just well be the catalyst to launch open water
swimming back into the Olympic program.
A television helicopter hovered overhead and the
giant waves of the Pacific broke just beyond the
channel markers as 24 women lined up for the start
of the first ever FINA 5K event to be held in the
USA. There were almost as many support craft
in the flotilla as there were competitors.
What started as a single pack of athletes
advancing between waves, soon spread out to
several smaller groups of leaders and followers.
The strategies of some of the competitors
soon became apparent, with some sprinting to the
lead, some conserving their energy and others
pushing and shoving in a competitive way.
The several hundred person crowd on the shoreline
and the Hilton Hawaiian Village pier jockeyed for
their own best positions in an effort to see the
finish. From 200 meters out the leaders were
engaged in all out sprint to the familiar Colorado
Timing touchpads that had been suspended above the
water. Who could imagine that after
competing over a distance of 3.1 miles, that the
finish would be as close as they were.
Athletes raced to hit the touchpads as they swam
underneath them and into the clutches of Olympic
gold medalist John Naber who greeted them with a
microphone and the chance to tell their story to
the television cameras.
BUSCHE (GER) outlasted the others and captured her
first world championship title.
"In Germany I am a famous person and there is
some pressure on me but I am glad that I could
swim to their expectations" said BUSCHE
immediately after the race. "I was
surprised that I won. "I am used to
lake swimming," she continued.
"The ocean is very different with the
waves and the current which were quite strong.
I am thankful for
the support of my friends and my family. USA's
Kalyn KELLER finished second and immediately sent
notice to her brother, Klete, that he would have
to share some of the limelight. "He has
his medal and now I have mine, but I still have
many races to go before I can catch up with
him." Her older brother won the bronze
medal in the 400
Free during the Sydney Olympic Games.
Twenty-eight year old Viola VALLI (ITA),
who finished third, trains with Club Snan Milano.
The men's 5K was not without controversy as the
results of the finish were held up for over one
hour while officials reviewed the videotapes in
response to a protest filed by the Italian team.
Of the 34 male swimmers entered, one athlete
was disqualified, another did not compete and the
other 32 churned the waters for 60 minutes
of excitement. BEZROOTCHENKO of Russia won
with a time of 59.18, but it was the two
athletes competing for the silver medal that
made things interesting for the spectators and
caused the officials to huddle over the videotapes
of the finish. The Italian team protested
that David MECA (SPA) pushed Luca BALDINI (ITA)
underwater as the two fought for the finish.
The Italian team's argument was that BALDINI who
was leading at the time had the right of way, but
the officials were unable to confirm an offense
committed by MECA and declared him the silver
medalist. MECA indicated that his
performance was "my best 5K ever, only the
finish was difficult. The course was
beautiful and I saw a sea turtle swimming below
me, but fortunately I was swimming faster."
BALDINI indicated that he was "happy with his
race but very sad for what happened to him at the
DAY 4 - November 1, 2000
By Mike Tymm, Honolulu Advertiser
RUSSIAN TRIUMPHS IN WORLD SWIM
There was no lack of emotion in the finishing area of the FINA World Open Water
Swimming 5 kilometer championship in Waikiki yesterday at noon.While Spanish and
Italian team officials argued, appearing ready to come to blows, a Russian
In a hotly contested and disputed finish, Evgeuni Bezroutchenko, a 23-year-old
Russian, surged past David Meca, 26 of Spain and Luca Baldini, 26 of Italy,
finishing the 3.1 mile ocean swim in 59 minutes, 18 seconds.
Meca survived a protest by the Italians for second place, finishing in 59:19.
Baldini was awarded the bronze medal. The Italians had claimed that Meca
interfered with their swimmer as the two battled intensely for the finishwhile
sharing the lead. With 33 men from 21 countries competing, the race got underway
at 11am next to the pier behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.
The women's race, with 24 competitors from 16 countries was held earlier and won
by Peggy Buchse, a 28 year old German physical education student, in
1:02.36, just four seconds ahead of Kalyn Keller, a 15 year ld American.
Viola Valli, 28, of Italy, was third, another second back.
countries are participating in the first world swimming championships to be held
in the United States. Each country is allowed two male and two
female swimmers. John Flanagan was Hawaii's sole entry, having
qualified for the 5K race with a third place finish in the national
championships at Indianapolis in August. He finished eighth yesterday.
The 10 K championship will be held tomorrow morning and the 25 K
championship on Saturday. No Hawaii swimmer qualified for those races.
About 30 meters from the finish of the men's race, Meca and Baldini were
matching strokes in the lead as Bezroutchenko closed rapidly. About 10
meters from the finish, there was contact between Meca and Baldini. That
might have slowed them enough to allow Bezroutchenko, swimming a few yards
to their right, to sneak by and touch the computerized finishing pad
"It appeared that the swimmer on the inside (Meca) was being crowded toward
the pier" said Hiroshi Yamauchi, a finish line official. "He had
no place to go."
Meca felt that Baldini cost him the victory. "We fought over the last
50 meters and he was pushing me to the left side" he said. "I
lost the gold for sure because of that. You have to be a little bit
aggressive, but I don't think this sport is about that. I am happy,
though because this is my worst event and I still have the 10K and 25K to
race." Italy's Baldini was not available for comment.
Some of the swimmers claimed the race was very physical throughout, but
Bezroutchenko did not seem aware of it. "It was hard to get a good
position, though" he said through an interpreter. "it was
an aggressive race, but you have to expect that in a field like this," said
Flanagan, who had hoped to medal. "I think I waited too long. I was
back with the second pack during the first half of the race. I started
moving up on the way back, but the current carried us faster than I had
Valli set the pace for most of the women's race, but Busche took command
with about 50 meters remaining and help off a strong finish by Keller, who
estimated that she passed seven swimmers in the fina l200 meters.
Even though Keller was closing on Buchse, she did not feel she waited too long
to make her move. "I did what I had to do," said the Phoenix,
Arizona resident who missed making the Olympic team at 800 meters by one
Top of page
DAY 5 - November 2, 2000
10K FINA OPEN WATER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS & TEAM RESULTS
Edith VAN DYK (NED) led the 10K event from start to finish in today's FINA World
Open Water Swimming Championships on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii and
defeated Melissa PASQUALI (ITA) by almost one minute. Peggy BUSCHE (GER)
earned the bronze medal when her teammate Angela MAURER (GER) was
disqualified for swimming on the wrong side of one of the channel markers.
VAN DYK was only trying to stretch her large lead during the race.
"It was my strategy to go out fast," she said. "I just went
for it." Dark clouds threatened to shorten or cancel the event and
the conditions were even more
challenging for the athletes. "It was a very tough race under these
conditions, the second leg was very windy and the waves were rough," said
the 27-year old from Wognun, Netherlands.
Edith Van Dyk (NED)
VAN DYK was so far ahead that PASQUALI never saw her and until she finished the
race,and she no idea that anyone was ahead of her. "This race was
very good for me, I am very tired now as it was a hard swim," Pasquali
said. "It was a surpise to see Edith already there at the time of my
finish," said the 28-year old from Florence, Italy.
Melissa Pasquali (ITA)
Bronze medalist Peggy BUSCHE (GER) reported that she saw the pack of lead
swimmers go off course. "I am sure that there were several swimmers
in that pack that should have been disqualified," she said. Only
later did she learn
that her teammate MAURER was one of three swimmers disqualified. "I
swam my way, I was careful," said Busche, who won the 5K on Tuesday.
"When I saw the others go off course, I took my time and swam a better
Peggy Buchse (GER)
Germany won the gold in the three-person 10K team competition, just ahead of
Russia and the United States, with a mere 36 seconds separating the top three
10K FINA OPEN WATER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS & TEAM RESULTS
(ESP) continued his good fortune and the Italian team continued its misfortune
at today's 10-kilometer race of the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships
in Honolulu, Hawaii (USA). Italian frustration
continued at the World Long Distance Swimming Championships on Waikiki Beach in
Hawaii today when Samuelle PAMPANA (ITA) was disqualified after finishing second
behing MECA. PAMPANA's disqualification meant Petar STOYCHEV (BUL) was
elevated to the silver medal and Tuesday's 5km champion, Evgueni BEZROUTCHENKO
(RUS), won the bronze medal.
Samuelle PAMPANA (ITA) was disqualified by judges for swimming on the wrong side
of a turn marker in the final few hundred meters of the men's race.
Earlier in the World Championships, the Italians were unsuccessful in their
protest over MECA's (ESP) silver medal performance in the 5K.
MECA (ESP) was crowned the champion in today's 10K race. Most spectators
agreed that MECA's swam the smartest race of the field and swam the straightest
line in a 13-man sprint to the finish. At water's edge, MECA
proclaimed the result "was perfect, just perfect." "I felt
strong at the beginning and my sprint was also very good," he said.
"There was a point when I said to myself 'these people are very fast' and
they went ahead of me so quickly that I was afraid that I would not be on the
David Meca (ESP)
MECA was 15th at the midpoint of the race and moved up to 10th place at the 7.5K
marker. He reeled in his competitors one by one. The driver of the lead
boat knew that MECA was picking up the pace because the boat had to change gears
to stay with the leader. Those competitors that stayed with MECA for the
final sprint found themselves being pushed towards the Hilton Hawaiaan Village
pier and farther away from the finish line. The irony is that it was MECA
that was almost driven into the pier in Monday's 5K race by Italian swimmer Luca
BALDINI. In that race MECA allegedly swam over and then under BALDINI to
touch just ahead of him but the officials refused to disqualify MECA. In
today's 10K it was MECA who raised his head at the 200 meter mark to take sight
of the touchpad and he sprinted to a first place in a time of 1:57.10.50.
PAMPANA, 24, who is in the Italian army, lead the race from the 3/4 mark until
the late in the ninth kilometer. Prior to learning of his disqualification
he said that "it was another good day for the Italians because he was happy
he could finish with a silver medal". He didn't realize how costly
his mistake would be. PAMPANA did not swim around the prescribed channel
marker and a nearby boat full of official's was there to observe the infraction.
Advancing to the silver medal is Petar STOYCHEV (BUL) who swam the last 1500
meters in the back of the lead pack. "I felt very strong in the last
500 meters and I did not expect that. It was a very hard race for me, the
current was often pushing me back."
Peter Stoychev (BUL)
| The bronze medal was won by
Evgueni BEZROUTCHENKO (RUS) who was also the winner of the 5K event earlier in
the week and was swimming his first ever 10K event. He is coached by Alexi
AKATIEV (RUS) who is competing in the 25K event on Saturday; AKATIEV won
both the 5K and 25K in the 1998 World Championships in Perth, Australia.
Evgueni Bezroutchenko (RUS)
DAY 7 - November 4, 2000
FINA WORLD OPEN WATER SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Russian marathon swimmers Iouri KOUDINOV (RUS)
and Alexi AKATIEV (RUS) teamed up to capture first and third in the 25K FINA
World Open Water Swimming Championships.
The very versatile David MECA (ESP) continued his impressive work by capturing
the silver medal in Saturday's championship held off the shores of Waikiki
Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii.
The duo's outstanding performance propelled the Russian nation to first place in
the men's overall team standings -- a tally that included points won in the 5K
and 10K events held earlier this week. KOUDINOV indicated that the race
was "most difficult for me because of the waves, but I was able to move
forward after the fourth lap of the course." His teammate AKATIEV,
and MEDINA trailed only slightly behind him during the final lap of the race.
"It was the most difficult race of my life said AKATIEV, the 5K & 25K
world champion in the 1998 FINA World Championships in Perth, Australia.
"I tried to shorten the distance between me and my teammate but the waves
kept pushing me back. I was not prepared for these conditions."
AKATIEV is also the coach of Russian swimmer Evgueni BEZROUTCHENKO (RUS), found
that his own race was perhaps his most difficult challenge of the week. "In
the last kilometer we changed places many times, the final sprint was difficult
David MECA the only swimmer from his country scored 50 points to single-handedly
earn the second place team title. MECA admitted "I was planning to
catch him, I got very, very close to him. The Russians are great swimmers,
but I had already swam three races and I was tired." MECA also
earned a gold in the 10K, and a silver in the 5K event. Today was a great
day, it was hot, it was nice and it was quite flat. At the halfway mark I
was in 15th place but I always swim this way, trying to be progressively faster
as the race advanced.
Twenty-four swimmers completed the race and the winner finished in under five
hours, 4:55.51.12. Race officials were extremely pleased with the result
and quickly calculated that the winners time was an average of 1:12 per 100
meters. Finishing fifty minutes later in 22nd place was the single
competitor from the host of the 2004 Olympic Games, Georgios TSIANOS (GRE)
explained that this was his first swimming marathon, "I was training in
preparation for the English Channel crossing, but I hope that I will have the
opportunity to compete in the Olympic swimming marathon when this becomes an
event in the Olympic Games.
WOMEN'S 25K FINA WORLD OPEN
WATER SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
DAY 7 - November 4, 2000
Edith VAN DYK (NED) captured her second gold medal of the week at the FINA
World Open Water Swimming Championships
with a decisive victory in the 25K event. The Europeans continued their
domination of this week's events in Honolulu by also winning the silver and
bronze medals, Viola VALLI (ITA) and Angela MAURER (GER).
For more than four hours a pack of ten swimmers were within four body lengths of
each other, often swimming in single file. The three Europeans were
together for almost every minute of the five and one half hour race. VAN
DYK said "the swim to Diamond Head was the most difficult part of the race
taking into account the wind, current and the waves." Asked about her
strategy VAN DYK said "I tried to get away from the others a couple of
times but I could not succeed, I was unable to get a gap between me and the
others, but I was pleased to finish first at the end today."
Viola VALLI arrived to a cheering crowd of well wishers on the shores of Waikiki
Beach. Her fan club included many teammates, friends and family who
crowded around her when she sat down on the beach to rest after second medal of
the week, having earned bronze in the 5K. Painted on her leg was her name
and her well-wishers told onlookers that Viola means flower in Italian.
"We made it a success for each of us today because we made it
together." Angela MAURER (GER) recovered with a bronze medal
performance in the 25K. She finished third in the 10K event but was disqualified
for missing a channel marker.
Sid CASSIDY (USA) assistant referee and member of the FINA Technical Open Water
Swimming Committee said about the weeks events, "The races got better as it
went on. Without any question this was the greatest marathon field ever
assembled." CASSIDY added, "It was thrilling to see this level
of performance from these outstanding athletes, it is a great step for our
Following the conclusion of the women's 25K event, the fastest times of three
competitors from each nation were combined to determine the overall team
champion for the 25K event. The Russian team won that team award followed
by Italy, and France.
OVERALL TEAM STANDINGS FINA WORLD OPEN WATER
DAY 7 - November 4, 2000
Overall team awards, one for male and one for female, shall be based on the
total cumulative point score over all races (5K, 10K, 25K) according to the
following point distribution: 1st to 12th places: 18 points, 16, 14,
12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
The men's overall team standings were as follows: First place:
Russia, Second place: Spain, Third place: Italy
The women's overall team standings were as follows: First place:
Italy, Second place: German, Third place: Netherlands