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Natalie, Chad better at 5km

Our Natalie du Toit and Chad Ho were off the pace in the 5-kilometre races at the FINA World Open Water Swim Championships in Roberval, Canada on Tuesday … but both improved on their 10km efforts from the weekend.

Du Toit added a 21st spot in the 5km event, improving on her 25th place in the 10km race at the weekend.

The USA’s Eva Fabian proved way too strong for the field and had already opened a seven second gap by the half way mark. Her storming attack from the gun spread the field immediately and she left the rest of the 31 swimmers in her wake.

Du Toit was in a group of around seven swimmers at the halfway mark, passed in 31:30. Her second half was just over 30sec slower than her first half and that is where she lost ground to finish in 1hr 02min 38sec. Fabian went on to win in 1:02:01. Italian Giorgia Consiglio was runner up, less than a second adrift, with Brazilian Ana Marcela Cunha third in 1:02:02.

Italian swimmers had claimed gold in both the 10km events at the weekend.

A few hours after Du Toit’s efforts, it was Ho’s turn to take to the water in the 5km race. Last year he had finished third in the same event but difficult conditions made it a tough swim this time out and he ended seventh in a time of 57:57. Like Du Toit he also improved from his 10km efforts where he was 22nd at the weekend.

Germany’s Thomas Lurz claimed the gold, finishing only 15sec ahead of Ho in 57:42 with silver going to Evgeny Drattsev from Russia (57:44) and the bronze to USA’s Francis Crippen (57:46).

Du Toit and Ho will now be joining some of SA’s top swimmers at the Telkom SA Short Course Championships in Pietermaritzburgfrom 6-9 August as they strive to qualify for the FINA World Short Course Championships in Dubai later in the year.