Ireland’s Chris Bryan finished in a commendable 8th place in the 5k open water event at the World Championships in Shanghai early this morning, clocking in at 56 minutes and 28 seconds – just two minutes behind winner Thomas Lurz of Germany. There were 51 starters in total.
Today’s result is Ireland’s first top 8 finish at a World Championships since 2004.
“I approached it differently from the 10k and took it out a lot faster. I managed to stay within the top 15 swimmers for most of the race then towards the end myself and the French swimmer broke away and took a slightly different route than the pack. When I re-joined the pack I was in about eighth position and just stayed calm and pushed hard with fifteen minutes to go,” commented Bryan after the race.”
“The last 400 metres of the race was rough – everyone was on top of each other, there was a lot of fighting and kicking. I got an elbow in the head but stayed calm and relaxed and really gave it my all to the finish.”
“This race is going to give me a lot of confidence going forwards and I’m excited to see what I can do in conditions that suit me well, unlike the water today. The 31 degree water temperature here was probably the hottest I’ve ever raced in and it didn’t suit an Irishman!”
“A top 8 finish is fantastic. One of Swim Ireland’s targets for this meet is to get two top 8 finishes so this knocks out one of those goals. Last year Chris finished 27th in the 5k event at the European Championships so he has improved a lot in one year. We were hoping for a top 20 finish in the 5k at this meet and it was a very strong field – so top 8 is brilliant,” said Chris’s coach at Swim Ireland’s Limerick High Performance Centre, Ronald Claes.
National Performance Director Peter Banks said “Chris’s top 8 finish is a great start for the team and gives Chris a lot of confidence going forwards when he has another opportunity to qualify for the Olympics in Portugal next year at the Olympic qualifier.”
Chris’s teammates continued their World Championship preparations today in a warm and humid Shanghai, with everyone reporting to be well and healthy and eagerly anticipating the pool swimming competition which begins on Sunday.