"Italian Day" in Eilat: 5km titles to Rachele Bruni and Simone Ercoli –
First ever Open Water Swimming medal for Israel by Michael Dmitriev and
another French surprise by Coralie Codevelle

Eilat (pps) "Italian Day" and the first ever Open Water Swimming medal for
Israel! The "Azzurri" Rachele Bruni and Simone Ercoli won the titles in
the women's and men's 5km event at the 2011 European Open Water Swimming
Championships in Eilat on Saturday. But Israeli Michael Dmitriev delivered
the biggest surprise: under the eyes of his compatriots on the stands
Dmitriev took the Bronze. This is the first ever Open Water Swimming medal
for the Israel Swimming Association and, of course, the absolute highlight
for the hosts of the 2011 Europeans.

In the women's 5km event Rachele Bruni from Italy took Gold, clocking
55min51.0sec and thus clearly ahead of Czech Jana Pechanova
(57min06.0sec). The Bronze medal went to France's Coralie Codevelle
(57min16.7sec). 2011 World Champion Swann Oberson of Switzerland and
"international newcomer" Natalia Charlos (of Poland) finished in fourth
and fifth position respectively.

In the men's 5km time trial Michael Dmitriev was the local hero by winning
Bronze in 54min03.5sec. Simone Ercoli took Gold in 53min34.9sec, ahead of
Germany's Jan Wolfgarten (53min39.0sec). 10km European Champion in Eilat
and seven-time 5km World Champion Thomas Lurz of Germany only finished in
sixth place. Places four and five went to Russia's Evgeny Drattsev and
Romain Beraud of France.

3rd Medal for Rachele Bruni

Italy's Rachele Bruni turns out to be the most decorated female swimmer at
the 2011 Europeans in Eilat. After Silver in the 10km race on the first
competition day and Gold in the Team Event on Thursday, the 2008 European
Champion "crowned" her participation on Saturday with another Gold medal
in the 5km time trial. Bruni showed a strong performance – always in the
lead from the start, never reducing her speed. "It is my third medal at
these Championships, this makes me very happy. It is the first time that
an Italian open water swimmer wins three medals during the very same
Championships", the 20-year-old from Florence said happily.

"Old hand" Jana Pechanova (CZE), who already took Bronze in the same event
eleven years ago was pleased with Silver. "2011 was a very long season.
When I arrived here for these Championships I had no idea if I would swim
the 5km. My good 10km race made me compete in the 5km, but this medal is
absolutely unexpected. It was good to start in 16th position, therefore I
was able to pass three swimmers. It is a strong motivation", said the
30-year-old former pool swimmer and multiple Medal winner at World and
European Championships.

After Bronze in the Team Event, it was 19-year-old Coralie Codevelle who
created another "French Surprise" on Saturday. The student from Limoges
achieved another Bronze medal, ahead of 5km World Champion Swann Oberson
(SUI) by a margin of half a minute. "This solo effort is not easy to
handle, you just have to swim at your best level throughout the race,
maintaining the same pace. This second Bronze medal at these Championships
comes as a big surprise", disclosed the "international newcomer".

Ercoli grabs 4th Gold medal for Italy / First Open Water medal for Israel

Simone Ercoli received his second Gold medal in Eilat after his success in
the Team Event. "I prepared especially for this race. After I finished
second at the 2010 European Championships in Hungary, I wanted to improve
and to win Gold", said the 32-year-old from Castelfiorentino, who was
really proud about having achieved the 4th Gold medal for the Italian team
at these Europeans.

Although Jan Wolfgarten gained Silver and thus added the fourth medal to
the collection of the German Federation, the 29-year-old was really
disappointed: "Four seconds, can you imagine? Only four seconds away from
Gold! I am very disappointed", the 2009 European Short Course Champion in
the 1500m freestyle disclosed. It was Wolfgarten's second Silver medal in
the 5km race after 2008 in Dubrovnik.

25-year-old Michael Dmitriev was in seventh heaven: "This is the very
first international medal for Israel in Open Water Swimming! I am of
course very proud of this feat. I did not think about such an issue ahead
of the race. This motivates me for my preparation towards next year's
0lympic Games."

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Statistics

Women's 5km
1. Rachele Bruni ITA 55min51.0sec
2. Jana Pechanova CZE 57min06.0sec
3. Coralie Codevelle FRA 57min16.7sec

Women' 10km
1. Martina Grimaldi ITA 2h00min18.6sec
2. Rachele Bruni ITA 2h00min19.2sec
3. Nadine Reichert GER 2h00min20.0sec

Men's 5km
1. Simone Ercoli ITA 53min34.9sec
2. Jan Wolfgarten GER 53min39.0sec
3. Michael Dmitriev ISR 54min03.5sec

Men's 10km
1. Thomas Lurz GER 1h53min18.2sec
2. Vladimir Dyatchin RUS 1h53min20.0sec
3. Igor Snitko UKR 1h53min21.5sec

Team event 5km
1. Italy (Simone Ercoli, Luca Ferretti, Rachele Bruni)
56min12.4sec
2. Germany (Hendrik Rijkens, Rob Muffels, Svenja
Zihsler) 57min15.2sec
3. France (Sebastian Fraysse, Damien Cattin Vidal, Coralie
Codevelle) 57min41.1sec


Medal Table after 3rd Competition Day
(5+10km Women, 5+10km Men, 5km Team Event)

Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1. Italy 4 1 0 5
2. Germany 1 2 1 4
3. Czech Republic 0 1 0 1
Russia 0 1 0 1
5. France 0 0 2 2
6. Israel 0 0 1 1
Ukraine 0 0 1 1
5 5 5 15

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Preview: Women’s and Men’s 25km on Sunday

"Veteran" versus "youngster": Petar Stoychev seems to be in the form of
his life. In the great heat at the World Championships, the 34-year-old
Bulgarian took Gold ahead of Russia's Vladimir Dyatchin and 23-year-old
"surprise" Bronze medallist Csaba Gercsak of Hungary. Dyatchin, runner-up
in the 10km in Eilat, did not enter the 25km, but "veteran" Stoychev and
"youngster" Gercsak will meet again, looking forward to another big
challenge. Also among the medal contenders: The Silver and Bronze
medallists of Balatonfuered in 2010, French Bertrand Venturi and Joanes
Hedel as well as Brian Ryckeman from Belgium. By the way: In the 25km race
the two oldest participants of the Championships will face each other:
Bulgaria's Petar Stoychev and Czech Rostislav Vitek – both were born in
1976.

When Olga Beresnyeva claimed the European 25km Gold medal in 2010, even
Open Water Swimming experts didn't have her on the list of contenders. But
after her fourth place at this year’s Worlds the former 800m freestyle
swimmer must be reckoned with. The 25-year-old celebrated her Olympic
debut in 2000 at the age of 15. After representing the Ukraine at the 2004
Olympics she migrated to Israel, but when she failed to qualify for the
2008 Olympics she returned to her home country. By the way: the "Gold
race" in Lake Balaton in 2010 was her first ever race in the 25km distance.

Also among the favourites in Eilat: Italy's Alice Franco, who won Bronze
in Shanghai, as well as Margarita Dominguez of Spain and Celia Barrot of
France, both 2010 World Silver and Bronze medallists. Further medal
contenders are Silvie Rybarova (CZE) and Karla Sitic (CRO), whereas 2011
European OWS Cup winner Ines Hahn of Germany only has an outside chance to
earn a medal.