GWANGJU, South Korea (AP) -- Xin Xin of China won the women's 10-kilometer open water event Sunday, lifting China to its fourth gold medal of the world swimming championships.
Xin finished in a time of one hour, 54 minutes, 47:20 seconds. The 22-year old, who finished fourth in the same event at the Rio Olympics, is now guaranteed a spot at next year's Olympics in Tokyo.
Haley Anderson of the U.S. took silver, 0.90 seconds behind, and Italy's Rachele Bruni finished third to take bronze, 1.80 seconds behind Anderson.
"My goal before this competition was to qualify for the Olympics," said Xia, who will compete in her third Olympics at Tokyo. "I believe that I can race better and better in the future."
"My strategy today was to relax and save energy in the first half, and to keep clear in the mind and also to keep the confidence in myself."
In a frantic finish a large pack of swimmers jostled for a top-ten placing which would earn qualification for next year's Olympics, with Xin and Anderson surging ahead in the final 20 meters to claim top spots on the podium.
American Ashley Twichell finished seventh to join Anderson in qualifying for Tokyo, as did reigning Olympic champion Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands who finished tenth.
"It was always my goal to be on the podium here, it wasn't just about finishing in the top 10 today," said Anderson, who won silver at the London Olympics in 2012. "I am really excited about how I finished, not just where I finished. This is a great set up for me for the Olympics next summer."
On Saturday, Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary won the men's 5-kilometer open water event to claim the first medal of the world swimming championships, before China completed a sweep of all three diving events on the opening day.
Other open water races include a 5-kilometer team relay on Thursday and men's and women's races over 25 kilometers next Friday.