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Justine Rhéaume top Canadian at first ever world junior open water swimming championships
August, 18, 2012

WELLAND, Ont. – Rob Muffels of Germany and Michelle Weber of South Africa are the first ever world junior champions in open water swimming.
 
Muffels took the junior boys (age 17-18) 7.5 kilometre race and Weber the youth girls (15-16) five kilometre on Friday to open the inaugural FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships held at the Welland International Flatwater Centre and Waterway.
 
Conditions were ideal at the rowing basin with water temperature measured at 24 Celsius.
 
In the youth girls five kilometre, Weber finished in one hour and 00 minutes and 05.6 seconds finishing less than three seconds ahead of Lena-Sophie Bermel of Germany (1:00:08.0).  Patricia-Lucia Wartenberg, also of Germany, was third in 1:00:27.0.
 
“I am very happy,” said Weber, 15, who lowered her personal best time by two seconds.  “When I got in the water I wanted to win.  I stayed relaxed for the first half of the race and that gave me a lot of energy for the last 2.5 kilometres.”
 
Justine Rhéaume of Montreal was just over a minute off the winning time for 13th spot while Leena Struzina of Bowmanville, Ont., was 28th.
 
‘’I really managed my race well,’’ said Rhéaume 16, who started swimming open water a year ago and was competing in her third race.  ‘’I had a very good first lap but the competition was really fast.  I started this sport last year and I really enjoy it.  But it is really hard too.’’
 
Struzina has raced in about 10 open water event over the past two years.
 
‘’I could have done better,’’ she said.  ‘’I was mainly happy with how I finished the race.  This is great for the young swimmers to have an opportunity to race against athletes our own age.  And to have it here in Canada is even more exciting.’’
 
In the junior boys 7.5 kilometre race, Muffels clocked 1:24:59.9 for the victory with Jordan Wilimovsky of the U.S., second in 1:25:19.0 and Jan Micka of the Czech Republic third 1:25:48.5.
 
‘’The beginning of the race was very hard,’’ said Muffels, 18.  ‘’Everyone was bumping into each other.  In the end I pushed my hardest.  I wasn’t sure what to expect because I didn’t know the field that well except for the European racers.’’
 
Nicolas Massé-Savard of Gatineau, Que., was 27th and Samuel Matte of Quebec City 29th.
 
Races continue on Saturday with the junior girls 7.5 kilometre at 9 a.m. and the youth boys five kilometre at 2:30 p.m.  The team events go on Sunday at 2 p.m.
 

More information: www.swimming.ca

Official competition website : http://www.niagaraopenwater2012.com/site/home

Canadian team list: https://www.swimming.ca/2012WorldJuniorOpenWaterChampionships

SWIMMING CANADA NETWORK