By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Jordan Wilimovsky finished fifth in the men’s 10k open water race Tuesday at the 18th FINA World Championships Yeosu in South Korea, qualifying for his second straight U.S. Olympic Team.
Wilimovsky finished the course in 1 hour, 48 minutes and 1 second, about six seconds behind winner Florian Wellbrock of Germany. Wellbrock took gold in 1:47:55.9, followed by Marc-Antoine Olivier of France for silver in 1:47:56.1, and Rob Muffels of Germany for bronze in 1:47:57.4.
Wilimovsky’s teammate, American David Heron, finished 25th in 1:49:57.6.
“I’m obviously super stoked to get top 10 and make the Olympic Team,” Wilimovsky said. “Any time you get to represent the U.S. is super cool, so that’s awesome. I definitely wanted to do better than fifth, but I’ve got a year to work on that, so overall I’m happy.
“Usually, I try to hang back a little more, but this being an Olympic qualifier and everything, the first half of the race I went a little harder than I normally do just to make sure I was in a good position and be safe and be at the front the whole way. So I changed my strategy a little bit compared to what I normally do.”
In 2016, Wilimovsky became the first American swimmer to qualify for the Olympic team in both the pool and open water. He will try to do that again next year, but for now is relieved to have the first step in qualifying out of the way.
“It’s huge,” Wilimovsky said. “It’s cool to make it a year out, just because now everything you’re doing is for Tokyo 2020. I’d like to make it in the 1500 and 800 (next year) as well, and I’m planning on that for Trials, but it’s going to be sweet to come back to swimming in August after you take your week break or whatever and be like, ‘I’m training for the Olympics officially.’”
Wilimovsky will also be racing the 800m and 1500m freestyle next week when the pool competition begins at the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. He’ll be going into that portion of the competition a little less pressure knowing he took care of business today.
“This (the 10k) is the big race for us for this season, so it’s cool to get that out of the way, and now it’s kind of like no pressure – get to go over to the pool and have fun racing and being with the pool team,” Wilimovsky said. “I’m definitely not done yet, but excited to get the first step out of the way.”
Wilimovsky joins teammates Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell, both of whom qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team on Sunday by virtue of their top 10 finishes in the women’s 10k.
The open water competition continues Wednesday in Yeosu with the women’s 5k.