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German swimmer Thomas Lurz finishes first, even in swimming trunks

German swimmer Thomas Lurz clinched a long-distance win at Hungary's European Swimming Championships. The victory comes despite a disadvantage for German participants, whose specialist swimming suits were banned.

Thomas Lurz celebrates his win

Victory on Lake Balaton was particularly sweet for Lurz

Long-distance German swimmer Thomas Lurz clinched first place in the 10-kilometer open water event in the European Swimming Championships on Hungary's Lake Balaton.

Lurz beat Italian Velerio Cleri and Russian Evgeny Drattsev, with German Christian Reichart in fourth place.

Finishing first was particularly satisfying for Lurz, who was unable wear the type of close-fitting full-body swimsuit worn by some rivals - including Cleri.

The win comes just three weeks after Lurz finished in sixth place at the World Swimming Championships in Canada. In that competition, the German full-body suits were banned from use by international swimming governing body FINA. Replacements conforming to FINA rules were not ready in time for the European tournament, and Lurz had to race in swimming trunks.

Lurz swimming in the race on Lake Balaton

Lurz said he had been confident of a medal

"The trouble over the swimsuits and my sixth place two weeks ago rankled me," said Lurz. "I have succeeded in taking revenge. It was the correct response."

Close competition

Lurz finished in 1 hour 54 minutes and 22.5 seconds, with Cleri only 2.3 seconds behind and Drattsev 4.1 seconds behind.

"I knew that I would be faster over the last 500 meters and that I would definitely get a medal," said Lurz. "I hope that next year, I will also be able to swim in a suit," he added.

The full-body suits, allowed in open-water but not in pool events, help to reduce body cooling and prevent muscles from becoming tired.

The 30-year-old from Wuerzburg is classed as the most successful open-water swimmer of all time. Lurz's latest victory is his 13th title in world and European championship events, and he is due to take part in a 5-kilometer event on Thursday.

Dubbed "Mr. Balaton," Lurz is undefeated on the stretch of water, which is regularly used for open-water swimming events.

Author: Richard Connor (dpa/SID)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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