GLASGOW (Reuters) – Dutch Olympic champion Sharon van Rouwendaal completed an open water swimming double at the European Championships on Thursday when she added the blue riband 10 km title to the 5km gold she won 24 hours earlier.
In the chilly waters of Loch Lomond with the rain coming down at the end, the 24-year-old proved as relentless over the near-two hour slog as she had done on Wednesday, setting the pace for all but the first km of the race.
Entering the last of the four 2.5km laps, only Italy’s Giulia Gabrielleschi could still hang on to Van Rouwendaal’s pace as it turned into a two-swimmer duel but even the dogged Italian was eventually broken over the final km.
Van Rouwendaal, the Olympic champion at the distance, forged away to eventually win by 7.3 seconds in one hour 54 minutes 45.7 seconds.
Behind Gabrielleschi (1:54:53.0) came Van Rouwendaal’s Dutch team mate, Esmee Vermeulen who took the bronze in 1:55:27.4.
Van Rouwendaal now has her sights set on winning four golds at the championships as she also targets Saturday’s 5km mixed team relay and Sunday’s individual 25km event.
(Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Ken Ferris)