Our swimmers found it tough going at the sixth FINA World Open Water championships in Roberval, Canada at the weekend.
Natalie Du Toit and Chad Ho both battled and failed to get near the podium placings as both the men’s and women’s titles went to Italian swimmers.
First in action was Natalie Du Toit along with 47 other swimmers from around the world for the 10km swim. Du Toit had to contend with the Olympic gold, silver and bronze medallists in the 10km, but such was the level of competition that only Great Britain’s Keri-Anne Payne who won silver in Beijing was able to finish in the top 10. Payne finished seventh as Martina Grimaldi won in 2:05.45
The water was clearly very cold and the conditions not easy as 10 swimmers pulled out during the race and a whole host were disqualified.
Du Toit battled from the word go and was already 14sec behind the leaders at 2.5km. It was in the second half of the race though that the wheels came off as she continued to lose ground and eventually finished 25th in 2hr 09min.
Then it was Ho’s turn to go, also in the 10km. He was up against eight-time five and 10km world champion Thomas Lurz of Germany and the 5 and 10km runner up in 2008, Vladimir Dyatchin.
Ho suffered from mild hypothermia and had to settle for 22nd overall out of 46 entrants. Lurz could only manage sixth place, such was the toughness of the competition. When Ho touched for home the clock read 2:04:44 for the 10km. The race was won by Valerio Cleri in 2:00.59.
Natalie du Toit and Chad Ho will now be looking to improve their performances in the 5km races on Tuesday.
Other South Africans in action in Canada are the national junior track and field team. They’ll be starting their medal hunt on Monday at the IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships in Moncton.