SHANGHAI – Britain’s Keri-Anne Payne led from start to finish to claim the women’s open water 10km gold medal on Tuesday at the FINA World Aquatic Championships while Canadians Zsofi Balazs of Toronto and Nadine Williams of Edmonton were 40th and 44th respectively.

Payne, the 2009 world champion and Beijing Olympics silver medallist, completed the four laps of the Jinshan City Beach course in two hours, one minute and 58 seconds.

Italy’s Martina Grimaldi finished second while Greece’s Marianna Lymperta finished third in a race in which the top 10 finishers secured berths at next year’s London Olympics.

Payne led from the start of the race in scorching conditions, though Australia’s Melissa Gorman and Grimaldi never let the 23-year-old get out of sight. Grimaldi, the 2010 world open water championships winner, and the Australian closed down the Briton as they entered the final stretch, moving to within a body length before Payne responded.

Both Canadians couldn’t keep pace with the pack after a torrid start to the race.

‘’I was a little disappointed, it wasn’t the placement I wanted,’’ said Balazs, 21. ‘’But you just got to get back up and try again next time. It was a gun start and you just had to go so fast to keep with the pack or get run over. It was really rough in there and everyone was trying to get the top-10 spot.’’

‘’I let the pack get ahead of me but I finished strong,’’ said Williams, 18, also a member of the 2009 world team. ‘’I’m happy I got this experience to race in the hot water and hot air so I’m sure this will be a good stepping stone for my career. The start was really fast and up to the first turn and I did well. In the future I want to make sure I keep up with the pack with a high amount of speed because I was dropping off.’’
Open water swimming competition continues Wednesday with the men’s 10 kilometre.

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CBC & SRC: Host broadcast of the 2011 FINA World Championships
CBC Sports and SRC Sport will continue the tradition of providing Canadians with extensive broadcasting of the FINA World Championships, with onsite host Scott Russell.

HD Video
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For more information:

Martin Richard, Director of Communications, Swimming Canada E-mail : , mobile in Shanghai: +1 86 1376 443 2645