BARCELONA – Team USA took home its first gold medal of the 2013 FINA World Championships Saturday as Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif.) was victorious in the women’s 5K open water swim. Anderson out-touched the second-place finisher by .2 seconds for the win.
Anderson, who earned the Olympic silver medal in the 10K last year, took an early lead in the race and was in first at the halfway point. Becca Mann (Saint Petersburg, Ill.) was in seventh at the 2.5k mark.
Shortly after the halfway point, Anderson made a small mistake and lost her first-place position to Brazil’s Poliana Okimoto Cintra but she was able to keep her pace and held on to the second-place position. Mann kept tight with the pack as well but the gold medal was a clear battle between Anderson and Okimoto Cintra.
“The race felt really good and it’s an honor to win,” Anderson said after the race. “This is my first World Championships gold medal and my first international 5k swim.”
Anderson won the race with a time of 56:34.2. Brazil’s Okimoto Cintra and Ana Marcela Cunha finished in 56:34.4 and 56:44.7, respectively. Mann finished with a time of 56:46.6 for eighth.
The men’s 5k race featured Andrew Gemmell (Wilmington, Del.) and Sean Ryan (Hixson, Tenn.). Both swimmers battled in the lead pack for most of the race.
At the midway point, Ryan was in 13th and Gemmell was in 22nd, however, their final positions flip-flopped with Gemmell ending the race in 13th with a time of 53:38.7 and Ryan in 22nd in 53:45.9.
The winner of the men’s race was Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli in 53:30.4. Canada’s Eric Hedlin was second in 53:31.6 and Germany’s Thomas Lurz rounded out the top three with a time of 53:32.2.
The swimming action at the FINA World Championships continues with the men’s 10k on Monday, July 22. The women’s 10k will take place on Tuesday, July 23. Open water competition runs through July 27. The pool portion of the Championships will take place between July 28 and August 4. For more information visit www.usaswimmming.org.