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Van Rouwendaal strikes gold in swimming marathon

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - World championship silver medallist Sharon van Rouwendaal may have struggled in the pool at the Rio Olympics but on Monday showed her strength at the Copacabana beach by winning the women‘s swimming marathon.

The Netherlands‘ Van Rouwendaal completed the 10-kilometre distance in a winning 1 hour 56 minutes 32.1 seconds with silver going to Italy‘s Rachele Bruni and a home bronze medal going to Brazilian Poliana Okimoto.

Aurelie Muller of France had initially finished second but was subsequently disqualified.

The race started in somewhat chaotic fashion as the swimmers had to make their own way to the starting point 200m into the water as the starting pontoon was swept away by waves Friday and organizers could not source a replacement.

Rio gold is van Rouwendaal‘s biggest title to date after coming second in the event at the 2015 Kazan worlds, where she also took silver in the team open water event and the indoor 400m freestyle.

Van Rouwendaal swam in the pack for the majority of the contest but made a successful break at the 7.5km point to charge to victory. In the Rio pool she failed to escape the 400m freestyle heats and scratched from the 800m.

Bruni was clocked in 17.4 seconds behind van Rouwendaal with Okimoto 1.9 seconds further back. Muller was disqualified for impeding Bruni in the frantic dash to the finish.

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