Britain’s top marathon swimmers produced some strong performances at the Kazan 2015 World Championships in Russia as the team of seven looked to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The youngest of the team, Alice Dearing, was first up for the Brits finishing 23rd in the women’s 5km race to mark her World Champs debut.
Another debutant of the world stage was Caleb Hughes who produced a standout performance in the men’s race which followed.
"I did think I might have snuck a medal" - Caleb Hughes
The 19-year-old finished seventh, leading the field for much of the race before narrowly missing out on the medals in the sprint for the finish to cross just 4.3 seconds behind South Africa’s winner Chad Ho.
"It was a good experience," Hughes said. "I did want more after leading for much of the race and I did think I might have snuck a medal. It is good to get a top ten finish because it put my name out there and shows I can do it."
Tom Allen was also part of the leading pack throughout the race, ultimately finishing 14.4 seconds behind Ho as he finished 23rd.
Jack Burnell was narrowly denied a first World medal after a frantic finish to the 10km marathon swim having been involved in the leading pack throughout the race but losing out in a highly physical battle for the finish line.
The 22-year-old crossed the line in fifth place, just 5.1 seconds off the podium, with a top 10 finish putting him in contention for selection to Rio 2016 Burnell said. “The qualification for the Olympics was the main job coming into the event but in my heart, I knew I could win it."
“I found myself in great positions which I manufactured but it just didn’t flow as well as the World Cups [gold and silver] and it felt a lot rougher. I know for a fact there’s a medal in me for Rio”.
Competing at his fourth consecutive World Champs 10km, Burnell’s Loughborough training partner Daniel Fogg finished 14th.
"I know for a fact there’s a medal in me for Rio” - Jack Burnell
In the women’s race Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne finished 15th in a gruelling 10km swim having been part of the leading pack throughout the opening three 2.5km laps.
Payne's British teammate Danielle Huskisson finished 35th meaning both swimmers will need to prove themselves at next year’s second qualifying event for Rio 2016 Olympic selection.
Having secured two bronze medals on the 10km World Cup tour this season, Payne insists she can take encouragement from her performances since returning to competition 12 months ago.
“To finish 15th in the world in such a great field after only a year back in the water is an achievement in itself,” said Payne.
“This is my tenth 10km this year so I thought I’d done enough racing but I felt like I was just struggling to keep up with the pace on the last lap.”
“Of all the races I’ve done this year, this is only the second where I’ve finished outside of the top 10.”