2000 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships
The 1st FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships were held on October 29-November 4, 2000 in the waters off Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A. 164 swimmers from 34 countries swam in the championships, in race distances of 5K, 10K and 25K.
A fitting location for such a prestigious event; open water swimming has long been a tradition here, even before the great Duke Kahanamoku built his reputation in these very waters.
More than 500 people attended the Opening Ceremonies of the championships at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel. Event Chairman Dr. Sam Freas welcomed athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and the media to the nations 11th largest city. USA Swimming President Dale Neuburger thanked the organizing committee and their sponsors for their efforts to make this inaugural event a memorable experience for the athletes -- "there is no better venue for this great event than Waikiki Beach, and there is no better time than now to show the world that open water swimming is growing and deserves to be a part of the Olympic program."
Athletes carrying the flags of each of the participating nation were showcased. John Flanagan, USA national team member who now lives and trains in Honolulu took the oath on behalf of all coaches and athletes. Just as the sun was finally setting for the day the outdoor stage was quickly filled with the music and dancing of a traditional Hawaiian evening. From the songs of the South Pacific to the energy of the hula dancers, the evening was a celebration of the culture of our hosts. Nearly a dozen of the athletes were asked to participate in the entertainment while camera crews from the NBC local affiliate and the Outdoor Life Network captured their activities. Six different cameras will film the events from different vantage points including a helicopter that will fly overhead.
Earlier in the day the race director held a briefing for coaches and federation officials. During the meeting it was announced that over 400 local staff volunteers, 150 motor craft, 40 safety personnel and 30 interpreters are being called upon to support this undertaking. For most of these athletes it was their first international competition and they spent their afternoon in a boat or in the surf. The 5K competition will be held on October 31, the 10K on November 2 and the 25K event to be concluded on November 4.
Team's 5 km Italy: Luca Baldini, Fabio Venturini, Viola Valli 3:01:24.74 Russia: Yevgeny Bezruchenko, Aleksey Akatyev, Irina Abysova 3:01:34.65 Germany: Christof Wandratsch, Ben Hoffman, Peggy Büchse 3:01:57.76
Team's 10 km Germany: Christof Wandratsch, Andres Maurer, Peggy Büchse 6:03:03.64 Russia: Yevgeny Bezruchenko, Vladimir Dyatchin, Irina Abysova 6:03:33.95 USA: Ben Hanley, Matt Martin, Dawn Heckman 6:03:39.81