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Germany's Thomas Lurz reaches for the finish line in the men's five-kilometre open water event on Tuesday. ((Michael Sohn/Associated Press))

Germany's Thomas Lurz won his third consecutive five-kilometre open water title and Australian Melissa Gorman edged Olympic champion Larisa Ilchenko on the women's side Tuesday at the world aquatics championships in Rome.

Lurz won by less than a body length — 0.3 seconds — over Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece in the open sea course off Ostia, Rome's ancient port.  

"The race was how I wanted. I swam the tactic what we spoke before with my coach," said Lurz, who also won the 2005 and 2007 worlds. "The last sprint was really hard, but at the end I'm of course really satisfied with the result."

Lurz clocked a winning time of 56 minutes, 27.2 seconds. South Africa's Chad Ho finished 15 seconds back to take third.

Gorman, who started racing open water only two years ago, came in at 56:55.8 to win the women's race, a time not far off Lurz's.

Olympic gold medallist Ilchenko was 0.5 seconds back to win silver and Brazilian Poliana Okimoto took third, 3.5 seconds back of the winner.

"I had no idea until I looked up at the officials and they told me I was first. I couldn't believe it," Gorman said. "[Ilchenko] has been my idol. To sprint against her and beat her is absolutely amazing."

Creel leads Canadians

David Creel of Victoria was the top Canadian on Tuesday, ranking No. 22 of 39 on the men's side in a time of 57:37.1. Creel finished 1:10.1 back of the winner.

Bridget Coley came in 32nd of 40 on the women's side. The Hamilton resident was 2:48.7 back of the winner in a time of 59:44.5.

Fellow Canadian Nadine Williams was 38th at 1:02:22.8.

Canada 6th in synchro duet technical

Also Tuesday, the Russian duo of Anastasia Davydova and Svetlana Romashina won the technical duet in synchronized swimming with their performance to Gioachino Rossini's Figaro.

The Russians won with a score of 98.667 points, while Spain's Andrea Fuentes and Gemma Menqual finished second with 97.333 points. Chinese twins Jiang Tingting and Jiang Wenwen were third with 95.667.

Canadians Tracy Little of Montreal and Elise Marcotte of Ancienne-Lorette, Que., finished sixth with a score of 93.833.

The Canadians qualified for the final in the No. 5 position.

Victoria's McCormick 9th

Fifteen-year-old Tom Daley of Britain won the 10-metre platform on Tuesday, while Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham of Australia botched his final dive and finished fourth. 

Daley scored three perfect 10s and three 9.5s for his final dive on Tuesday, registering a total 539.85 points.

China's Qui Bo was second at 532.20 points and countryman Zhou Luxin, the Beijing silver medallist, took bronze with 530.55.

Riley McCormick of Victoria finished ninth overall after an eighth-place finish in the semifinal earlier Tuesday. McCormick scored 470.30 in the final.

Water polo

The Canadian women remained undefeated in water polo at the worlds following a 12-6 win over New Zealand on Tuesday. 

Kelly Mason had three goals for Canada in the winning effort.

On Day 1 of competition Canada played Australia to a 6-6 tie.  

Another 4th for Italy

Italy's Luca Ferretti narrowly missed out on winning the host country its first medal at the worlds, finishing fourth in the men's open water race. He was just over two seconds back of the bronze medal.

This is the fourth time Italy has been one position off the podium at this year's world championships.

"True, it's another wooden medal," Ferretti said. "But this is my best result at worlds, so I've got to be pleased."

The open water races were originally slated for Sunday but rough seas destroyed the starting dock and timing equipment, causing the events to be postponed two days.

Swimmers started the race already in the water, and computerized touch pads at the finish line were replaced by an old fashioned banner.

With files from The Associated Press