Keri-Anne Payne claimed Great Britain's second gold medal of the world championships when she won the 10-kilometre open water race here yesterday.
Payne, the Beijing Olympics silver medallist, controlled the race throughout and finished in 2hr 1min 37sec at Ostia. The 21-year-old held off an attack from Italian Martina Grimaldi, who drew level with the Briton on the final circuit, and surged off the final buoy to finish more than a body length ahead.
Payne said: "It feels amazing. I was anxious this morning. There was lots of pressure from the Games, winning a medal. And also I know my funding depends on it. But I know you don't just become a bad swimmer. My plan was just to get out the front and get out of the fight. You can waste so much energy. A few girls wanted to be there but I wasn't having any of it."
The Stockport Metro swimmer admits the open water event – held in the sea yesterday but also staged in lakes and rivers – can be unpredictable. Payne has also put a lot of focus on sprint training and will take part in the individual medley here over both 200m and 400m.