Kristóf Rasovszky, Mira Szimcsák, Bettina Fábián and Dávid Bethlehem (L-R)
The Hungarian relay team consisting of Mira Szimcsák, Bettina Fábián, Dávid Betlehem, Kristóf Rasovszky won the bronze medal in the open water swimmers’ team competition at the World Aquatics Championships on Thursday.
In Doha Bay, twenty national teams from twenty countries prepared to complete the four laps. After the individual races, the Hungarian, French, Italian and Australian teams were the early favorites, with Kristóf Rasovszky winning the men’s 10 km, a double French victory in the shorter distance, the Italians finishing in the top 10 in each event, and the Australian relay team was very strong with the women.
Bettina Fábián, 19, was the first to jump into the water among the team members. Szimcsák, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Wednesday, held the 13th position, then Betlehem, the sixth-placed finisher of the 5km, came up in fifth. However, the final member of the relay team, Rasovszky was still more than half a minute behind the German, who was pacing in third.
The Olympic silver medalist finally managed to overtake his American rival and then the Germans with a big chase, to take third place for the team that had won silver at the previous two World Championships.
After a very close finish, the Australians won the race by two tenths of a second ahead of the Italians.
Photo: MTI/Derencsényi István
“I think I probably swam even more than the others, because I went a little bit more to the edge, so that I could swim in calmer conditions, not on someone’s side,” said Rasovszky. We knew that the last guy was the weakest in Germany, because he is a junior, but we had no idea about the Americans.”
Like his team mate, Dávid Betlehem left quite a few of his rivals behind him, although he had a tough task. “When I was waiting for Mira and she still had not arrived, I thought that this time there would be no podium. Then I kept passing people, and then I even managed to get a little bit on the Americans,” he said.
Mira Szimcsák commented that it was her best swim of the three at this World Championships, despite this she did not think the boys would be able to overcome such a disadvantage. Bettina Fábián stressed that the goal was to stay in the lead. “Unfortunately, we did not manage to do that, which makes me angry. But I gave my best, that is all I had in me, and my hat is off to the boys,” she said.
Open water swimming, team event, 6 km, world champion:
1. Australia (Moesha Johson, Chelsea Gubecka, Nicholas Sloman, Kyle Lee) 1:03:28.0
2. Italy (Giulia Gabbrielleschi, Arianna Bridi, Gregorio Paltrinieri, Domenico Acerenza) 1:03.28.2
3. HUNGARY (Mira Szimcsák, Bettina Fábián, Dávid Betlehem, Kristóf Rasovszky) 1:04:06.8
Via MTI, Featured image: MTI/Derencsényi István