World Championships Doha: Australia Win 4×1500 Open Water Relay In Photo Finish With Italy
Kyle Lee got a fingertip touch by 0.2secs in a sprint finish with Domenico Acerenza as Australia won the 4x1500m open water relay at the World Championships in Doha.
Italy and Australia were in their own private battle on the final leg with Lee reducing the deficit in the final 200m, first moving on to Acerenza’s hip and then his shoulder.
The Italian still held the lead going in to the final straight but Lee made his move on the inside, with the pair going stroke for stroke, and got his hand to the board in 1:03.28.0.
Italy were second in 1:03:28.2 with Kristof Rasovsky – winner of the 10k – coming past Arne Schubert of Germany to claim third for Hungary in 1:04:06.8.
Germany were fourth, USA fifth and France sixth, despite the presence of Marc-Antoine Olivier and Logan Fontaine, with three medals between them in Doha and 24 hours after the latter led a French 1-2 in the 5k.
The quartet of Moesha Johnson, Chelsea Gubecka, Nick Sloman and Lee had a nervous wait on the pontoon before the result was confirmed and they could celebrate Australia’s first relay world title.
Lee said on deckside:
“It was very tight but my team put me in the best possible position so I couldn’t ask any more of them.
“Coming into that finish I knew that Domenico was so strong throughout this competition so it wasn’t going to be easy but I guess I got lucky on the touch.”
On his thoughts coming into the finish, he said:
“Just trying to stay calm really. It’s so hectic in that finishing shoot but just trying to remain calm and try and time it as best as I can.”
Australia leave Old Doha Port with Lee and Sloman having claimed Olympic quota places in the men’s 10k while Johnson secured the second slot alongside Gubecka, who qualified by virtue of silver at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka.
For Gubecka, it was her second medal of Doha 2024 following silver in the 5k.
Acerenza added silver to his 5k bronze and seventh in the 10k which secured one of two Italian quota places for Paris 2024.
Giulia Gabbrielleschi, Arianna Bridi and Gregorio Paltrinieri comprised the Italian quartet.
It has been a fine meet for Rasovszky who leaves with gold and bronze, joining teammates Bettina Fabian, Mira Szimcsak and David Betlehem on the podium.
Rasovszky, who will seek to upgrade Tokyo silver to gold in the French capital in August, said:
“It was quite challenging but I felt during this race that I have power and I am really fast.
“So I was like I don’t give this third place to anyone so if I can catch USA and Germany I will try it.
After the first half of the lap, I saw that I was really close so I was putting my head down and swimming as fast as I can.”