By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Saturday, July 13, 2019
The 18th FINA World Championships kicked off today at the Yeosu Expo Ocean Park in South Korea with the men’s 5k Open Water race.
Michael Brinegar was the top swimmer for the United States, finishing 12th in 53 minutes, 37.1 seconds. Teammate Brennan Gravley was 14th in 53:37.1.
“I just didn’t swim the turns well enough,” Brinegar said. “At the end of each lap I would start to get into a good position, and I wouldn’t continue swimming as hard as I was, or as hard as the rest of the pack was, and I’d lose my position. I had to really work the beginning of each lap, and it just made it that much harder.
“It’s a really good learning experience. I know now I can do better for the next open water swim I have. It was just a really rough race, and it’s pretty good finishing in the top 20, so I’m pretty happy with that.”
It was the first Open Water World Championships for both swimmers, who said they gained valuable insight from the experience.
“I think if I had positioned myself a little better from the start, I would have been able to (place) higher, because from what I heard from the coaches, me and Michael moved up a lot on the last lap,” Gravley said. “But for my first worlds I’ll definitely take it. It’s been a really cool experience being able to train with such high-level athletes at the training camp, and then to come here and compete with the world’s best – I never take it for granted. It means a lot just to be here, just to participate.
“One of the turns was really tough, and you kind of had this bottle-neck effect as you went around some of the turns. Besides that, it was really good. Everyone was pretty calm – they guys I was next to weren’t violent at all, just some of those turns got pretty intense.”
Finishing first was Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary in 53:22.1, followed by Logan Fontaine of France in 53:32.2 and Eric Hedlin of Canada in 53:32.4.
The open water races continue tomorrow with the women’s 10k. Veterans Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell will be vying for spots on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team, as the top 10 finishers in that race will qualify to swim in Tokyo.
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