London – South Africa's Troyden Prinsloo, who finished 12th in the men's 10km swimming marathon at the London Olympics on Friday, said he looked forward to swimming again at the next Games.

“It was a great experience so hopefully I can get the funding to focus on this (event) for Rio 2016,” said Prinsloo after his gruelling swim.

“It was very tough and these guys were flying”

Prinsloo finished in one hour, 50 minutes and 52.9 seconds (1:50:52.9), nearly a minute behind Tunisian winner, Oussama Mellouli.

Mellouli powered home in 1:49:55.1, bagging the gold medal ahead of Thomas Lurz of Germany (1:49:58.5) and Richard Weinberger of Canada.

It was an historic occasion for Mellouli, who is the first swimmer to have won Olympic medals from both open water and pool swimming after winning the bronze medal in the 1500m in Beijing.

Prinsloo, who only made the transition to open water swimming in 2011, spent the majority of the race in the top dozen, but dropped back to 17th over the final two kilometres.

“I'm really not disappointed, getting twelfth place in my third international swim,” said Prinsloo.

“The guys were fast - very very fast - and I didn't know where I was coming.

“At one stage, I didn't really care about my position, I just didn't want to lose hold of the pack.

“I felt as long as I was with the pack, I was happy.

“Everyone was sticking together and every time I had any clear water, I would have someone touching my feet or have someone around me.

“It was very difficult to break away or try anything.”

Prinsloo, who also swam the 1500m in Beijing four years earlier, said he was aware he had received a warning during the race.

“Yeah I got one yellow ­ I'm not really sure what for but I'm not disappointed about one yellow flag.”

Four swimmers received single warnings, which are normally given for obstructive swimming, with two yellows resulting in a disqualification.

Having recovered from a bad patch, Prinsloo moved through to win a photo-finish twelfth position ahead of Venezuelan Maldonado Saavedra sharing a time of 1:50:52.9.

“I'm still very new to it (open water) and very inexperienced,” Prinsloo said.

“I was looking up quite a lot which was tiring me out.

“If I can do more swims and gain experience then, hopefully, I can carry on to 2016.”

The 26 year-old, who spent five years studying and swimming at University of Georgia before returning to his Durban base, said he would be discussing the future with his coach when he returns home but sees Durban as his future base.

“There are benefits to using Europe as base but that's expensive and takes funding,” he said.

“I definitely need to do more international swims.”

Prinsloo, who was the 2005 and 2006 Midmar Mile champion, hoped to get to the two remaining World Series events in September.

“I'll definitely stay back in Durban and train with my coach Nick Gray and do a bit of training with Cedric Finch in Cape Town, but funding is going to be key.”

Prinsloo placed 38th at last year's World Championships in Shanghai and qualified for the Olympic 10m marathon final with a fifth place at the World Series in Setubal, Portugal, in June. – Sapa