Olga Beresnyeva wins 25k open water
BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Olga Beresnyeva of Ukraine won the 25-kilometer open water race in a photo finish Sunday at the European swimming championships.
Beresnyeva touched first to beat Angela Maurer of Germany by just 0.1 seconds, finishing in 5 hours, 48 minutes, 10.2 seconds. Martina Grimaldi of Italy was third, 20.6 seconds back.
In the grueling race held on Lake Balaton -- 80 miles south of Budapest -- Beresnyeva and Maurer swam together leading up to the final sprint, where the Ukrainian timed her finish better.
"This was my first ever race in the 25k and I really can't believe that I became European champion at the first attempt," Beresnyeva said after claiming her country's first medal in an open water event. "Since the race wasn't too fast in the first three laps I still had enough power left for a finishing sprint."
The fight for bronze also ended in a photo finish. Grimaldi clocked the same time as Margarita Dominguez of Spain -- 5:48:30.8 -- but was deemed by the judges to have touched a fraction of a second faster.
In Budapest, world champions Natalia Ischenko and Svetlana Romashina of Russia added the European title in the synchronized swimming duet free event, scoring 98.700 points. Andrea Fuentes and Ona Carbonell of Spain were second with 96.700 points and Daria Iushenko and Kseniya Sydorenko of Ukraine were third with 93.400.
"We are always looking for perfection but it seems never to be possible to reach the perfect 10 due to minor mistakes," Romashina said.
Ischenko and Svetlana Romashina also helped Russia win gold in the tournament's final synchronized event, the free combination. Russia scored 98.300 points to beat defending champion Spain bt 1.300 points. Ukraine was third with a score of 94.100.
"I am relaxed now and can smile, but not for a long time because we have to prepare a new routine for next year," Russian head coach Tatyana Pokrovskaya said. "To achieve this gold medal the girls practiced 45 hours a week."
On Saturday, Ischenko won the solo free competition and was part of the triumphant Russian squad -- also including Romashina -- in the team free event.
Pool races at the 30th edition of the championships begin on Monday, including the final of the men's 400-meter freestsyle event.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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