Story courtesy USASwimming.org
Christine Jennings (Longmont, Colo.) and Alex Meyer (Ithaca, N.Y.) won the 10-kilometer titles at the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships on Friday at Lower Castaic Lake.
With their victories, Jennings and Meyer qualified for the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, in July. In addition to the 10K, they will have the option of swimming in the 5K and 25K events at the World Championships.
Also earning spots on the U.S. World Championships Team were Friday's runner-up finishers Becca Mann (Saint Petersburg, Ill.) and Sean Ryan (Hixson, Tenn.) For complete open water selection procedures for the 2013 FINA World Championships, visit usaswimming.org.
The women's 10K became a five-person race with 500m to go. As Jennings' competitors drifted right, she veered left and was able to outkick the competition to the finish line. She finished with an official time of 2:02:14.336.
"We were five tight coming down the stretch," said Jennings on the finish. "If you stay close to someone, they can draft off your hip and it's nearly impossible to break away, so I had to take it out wide. I realized the pack was moving to the right so I went out left and started my overkick, and I was able to hold on for the win."
In the mix at the end along with Jennings were Emily Brunemann (Crescent Springs, Ky.), Eva Fabian (Keene, N.H.), Mann and Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y.). In the end, it was the 15-year-old Mann, who finished second (2:02:16.062), and Fabian finished third in 2:02:16.355.
Early in the men's 10K, three swimmers separated themselves from the field. With Ryan setting the pace, Andrew Gemmell (Wilmington, Del.) and Meyer followed as the trio broke free from the pack. Meyer made his move over the final 300m and overtook the top spot from Ryan, finishing in 1:54:58.947. Ryan held on for second (1:55:01.253), and Gemmell grabbed third (1:55:11.136).
"I haven't won a race since 2011 Nationals so this has been a long time coming," said Meyer on the win. "There have been a lot of ups and downs, but this win will definitely give me confidence going into World Championships."
Action will continue with the 5K on Sunday with the men starting at 8 a.m. PT and the women competing at 9:30 a.m. The first-place finishers in men's and women's the 5K will be selected to swim the 5K at the World Championships.
For complete results from the weekend's races visit the USA Swimming Open Water page.