SEVILLE, Spain – Karley Stutzel of Victoria finished 33rd on Saturday in the women’s 10 kilometre race at the FINA World Open swimming championships.
The 10 kilometre races for the men and women this weekend are Olympic qualifying events as open water makes it Games debut this August in Beijing. The men’s race is on Sunday.
Larisa Ilchenko of Russia successfully defended her world title clocking two hours and 02:02.7 minutes.
Natalie Du Toit of South Africa, a multiple Paralympic Games champion for swimmers with a disability, qualified for the Olympics finishing fourth in 2:02:07.8. The top-10 finishers earned Olympic berths as well as the top continental swimmers not in the top-10. Andreina Pinto off Venezuela grabbed the Americas bonus spot finishing 17th.
Stutzel, fourth in the event at the 2001 worlds, was 33rd and Zsofi Balazs, 17, of Toronto was 42nd. There will be a second chance to qualify for the Olympic Games at the end of the month at a test event in Beijing.
‘’We’re happy with Karly’s swim,’’ said Stutzel’s coach Ron Jacks of Victoria. ‘’She was in the mid 20’s heading into the final lap but she mistimed her water stop and fell behind. But overall she had good tactics. It was a strong field with a lot of world championship and World Cup medallists.’’
Balazs’s inexperience showed.
‘’She got muddled up in the first turn and never recovered,’’ said Jacks. ‘’Her inexperience took its toll.’’
Canada has two entries in Sunday’s men’s race with Jarrod Ballem of Calgary and Philippe Dubreuil of Sherbrooke, Que.