Fri, Jul 18, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Heymans wins gold on 10m platform

SWIMMING AND DIVING The Canadian won the 10m platform event at the World Swimming Championships after two favored Chinese competitors came up short in their last dives of the day

AP , BARCELONA, SPAIN

Emilie Heymans of Canada during the 10m platform competition at the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AP

The most stressful part of Emilie Heymans' gold-medal performance came after the diving was done.

She won the 10m platform Wednesday at the World Swimming Championships.

Heymans, who won silver in 10m platform synchronized in the 2000 Olympics and gold in the 1999 Pan Am Games on the 10m platform, edged Lao Lishi and Li Na with a final dive that began with a somersault and ended with a twist.

Heymans went into the final in fifth place. Li and Lao were leading the competition.

"I didn't know the situation when I came out of the pool," Heymans said. "My coach told me I had a chance of winning. I started getting stressed about how the Chinese would dive. I knew I would get a medal but I didn't think I'd get the gold."

Heymans' gold was Canada's first of the championships.

Russia tops the medal table with four golds and seven overall.

Russian distance swimmer Vladimir Diattchine won the 10km open-water swim on Wednesday, which came just 18 hours after countryman Alexander Dobroskok took gold in men's 3-meter springboard diving.

Earlier in the week, Dobroskok was the gold medalist in 3-meter synchronized, teaming with Dimitry Sautin. Evgueni Kochkarov claimed gold in the 5-kilometer open swim.

Russia's women's water polo team is also unbeaten. The men, among the favorites in a wide-open field, were edged by two-time defending champion Spain on Wednesday 10-8.

Out in Barcelona's harbor, Diattchine won in 1 hour, 50 minutes, 58.8 seconds and was 7.7 seconds faster than silver medalist Christian Hein of Germany, who also finished second in the 5km race Sunday.

Local favorite David Meca of Spain took bronze, 10 seconds behind the winner.

Diattchine also won bronze on Monday in the 5K swim, which left him feeling "bittersweet."

"I knew I could have done better," Diattchine said. "I'm very satisfied with the 10km. Everything went as I expected."

Italy, Canada and Japan also won gold on Wednesday.

Italy picked up its second gold medal, with Viola Valli cashing in again.

Valli won the 10km women's swim in 1:59:49.9, 1.2 seconds faster than silver medalist Angela Mauer of Germany. Bronze medalist Edith Van Dijk came in 3.1 seconds back.

Valli's victory Wednesday was her fifth gold medal in major events, including the Open Water World Championships, which take place in the years when there is no World Swimming Championships.

Open water swimming is not an Olympic sport.

Valli weighs just 52km and stands about 1.56m.

So how does the compact Italian routinely beat her bigger opponents?

"It's my secret," Valli said, before elaborating.

"My secret is in practice and having the tactics to have a great race. In long distance you don't necessarily need to have a huge body."

Japan picked up its first gold medal of the championships in the free-combined program in synchronized swimming. The US and Spain shared the silver medal.

The synchronized event, which also is not part of the Olympics, is being held for the first time in the worlds.

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