Open water swimmer Lurz takes fifth world title

Germany's Thomas Lurz was hailed as one of the all-time swimming greats on Friday as he sealed his fifth world championships open water title in a dramatic 5km race in Shanghai.

Open water swimmer Lurz takes fifth world title
Photo: DPA

Lurz left it desperately late before overhauling Greek rival Spyros Gianniotis in the final metres of the gruelling event for his third medal in three races at Jinshan City Beach.

“I was sure that I won only when I touched the finish board, the slap board. Then I already knew that I won,” Lurz said.

“But before the race I didn’t think about winning five times or six times or seven times in a row. I think this is big pressure. Every time I go on the start, I try to do my best and don’t think about the number of titles.”

Gianniotis, who enjoyed a rare victory over defending champion Lurz in the 10km, thought he had the race won as he powered towards the finish and was stunned when he finished in second place.

“The last few hundred metres, I was in the lead and I knew Thomas was behind,” Gianniotis said. “He began to fight back, and I just pushed ahead, thinking I was ahead and I had nothing or no one to lose. It’s very, very hard.”

Bronze medallist Evgeny Drattsev of Russia said Lurz, who also won the event in 2005, 2007 and 2009 – when he also won the 10km – had proved himself as one of the world’s great athletes.

The 31-year-old Lurz placed second in this week’s 10km and helped Germany win bronze in the team 5km event, swelling a bulging trophy cabinet which also contains numerous other international titles.

“Lurz is a very strong swimmer. He is a great athlete in history,” Drattsev said.

In the women’s event, Switzerland’s Swann Oberson took gold with Aurelie Muller claiming France’s first medal of the world championships and American Ashley Twichell taking bronze.

“I swim five hours a day. The swimming pool is my second house,” Muller said.

Meanwhile Chinese star Wu Minxia topped the semi-finals of the women’s 3 metre springboard as the hosts seek an unprecedented sweep of all 10 diving medals.

China are expected to win their eighth title in the men’s 3 metre final later.

US star Michael Phelps and Brazilian champion Cesar Cielo, who avoided a doping ban after testing positive for a banned diuretic, both trained at Shanghai’s Sea Crown pool Friday before the swimming events start Sunday.


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Bavarian teen hailed hero after saving youngster from drowning in pool

A 13-year-old boy in Bavaria is being praised for his swift action in saving a youngster from drowning at an outdoor pool.

Bavarian teen hailed hero after saving youngster from drowning in pool
Justin Fischer at the pool where he saved the four-year-old boy. Photo: DPA

Justin Fischer, from Windischeschenbach, east of Nuremberg in Bavaria, noticed the boy at the bottom of the non-swimmers pool at a Freibad (open-air pool) last month.

As the youngster didn't appear to be moving, Fischer quickly jumped into the pool and pulled him out of the water.

“His lips were blue, he was no longer breathing,” Fischer said. He called for help and a pool attendant took over the cardiac massage at the edge of the pool.

Shortly afterwards, the four-year-old began to breathe again.

READ ALSO: Freibad Fracas – rows escalate at Germany's open air swimming pools

It was a natural reaction to jump in and help the boy, said the student. News of the rescue spread around the region and, in the last days, police and pool attendants have been praising the student for his efforts.

Michael Mutzbauer and Alexander Horn, from the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) police unit, had been called out to the outdoor swimming pool when the incident happened on June 4th.

The mother of the four-year-old had been looking for her son, who had been at the sand playground shortly before he got into difficulty in the water, Mutzbauer said. When the mum came to the edge of the pool, the little boy had started to breathe again. The boy was then taken to a clinic in Weiden for further treatment.

There, the officers visited him and promised they would drive by his home in the patrol car when he was better. They recently fulfilled this promise, as can be seen on Twitter in a post by the Oberpfalz police.

Police called Fischer and another 11-year-old boy called Luca who also helped with the rescue mission “civilian heroes”.

The youngster, said to be called Jakob, is recovering well, Mutzbauer said.


To save – retten

Drowning – (das) Ertrinken

Non-swimmers pool – (das) Nichtschwimmerbecken

Cardiac/heart massage – (die) Herzdruckmassage

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