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Friday, July 21, 2017

Syrian Swims Singularly, Sincerely

Courtesy of WOWSA, Lake Balaton, Hungary.

There were 105 open water swimmers from 42 countries (Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Spain, Estonia, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Macedonia, Namibia, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia) who participated in the 2017 FINA World Championships in Lake Balaton, Hungary.

Many teams brought a full complement of swimmers like the USA with Brendan Casey, Andrew Gemmell, David Heron, Simon Lamar, Chip Peterson, and Jordan Wilimovsky, but many other teams were represented by only one swimmer.

The Syrian Arab Republic and Angola were two of those nations. Angola sent Pedro Pinotes who finished 47th in the 5 km and 54th in the 10 km race.

Long-time international representative Saleh Mohammad represented Syria in the 25 km race today where he finished 24th in 5 hours 47 minutes [see here].

While Syria is currently not ideal for training purposes, the 31-year-old Mohammad has long competed on the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit and has been most recently training in Bulgaria under a Russian coach. "He looked especially tired today [in the 25 km]," said long-time FINA officials.

But true to his nature, Mohammad finished the race that he started despite the obstacles in his path.

Dr. Maher Khayata, Vice President of the Syrian National Olympic Committee and General Sports Federation, described Mohammad. "He is very kind, trains seriously, always respects coaches and technical officers, and works very hard.”

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