Loughborough University Geography student Tim Shuttleworth won the very first medal of the FINA World Swimming Championships as he brought home a hard-fought bronze in the men’s 5km event.
Swimming at his first World Championships and in his first senior marathon swim, Shuttleworth showed endurance and determination to swim through the pack and take his first international medal.
The Rio 2016 Olympian showed real maturity to effectively pace the two-lap race and put him in sight of a sprint finish for medals on the Lake Balaton course in Budapest. Post-race Shuttleworth commented:
I got off to a good start and found a little bit of clear water which was a great introduction to my first World Championship marathon event. As the first lap unfolded the pack swarmed on me and I got stuck in the middle of it. It was a physical battle, and I took a couple of kicks, but I kept my head and focus to keep in the race.
As we got closer to the finish I went with a small group in a sprint away from the pack and managed to get to the touch for a first medal at my first World Championships. To win a World Championship medal feels amazing. It’s my first senior marathon race and gives me great confidence for the future. I’ve never done anything quite as physical as that race. No-one wanted to give anything away but I stuck at it and swam as hard as I possibly could to get on that podium.
Gold went to Marc-Antoine Olivier of France in 54:32.10, Italian Mario Sanzullo took the silver and Shuttleworth was third just 10 seconds behind the winner.
Following the race British Swimming Marathon Lead Bernin Dietzig said:
That’s our first [open water] World Championship medal since 2011 so I’m really happy with that. Tim is relatively new to the sport but stuck to the plan and executed it perfectly. He finished strongly to fend off a group of eight swimmers that were pushing for medals.
Toby Robinson also did a really good job. He had a superb swim and got himself in sixth place with just 500m to go, which was excellent for someone so young. He eventually finished 15th as he lost his goggles in the sprint at the end but he showed real character and looks good for the future.
The 14 Loughborough athletes in action in Budapest at the World Championships, which run from 14-30 July, are: