TEMPE, Ariz. – World champions Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./TAC Titans) and Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Team Santa Monica) repeated as 10-kilometer national champions on Friday at Tempe Town Lake to open the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships.
With the victories, Twichell and Wilimovsky clinched berths to represent the United States in the 10K at this summer’s Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, as did the respective runners up, Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif./Trojan Swim Club) on the women’s side and David Heron (Mission Viejo, Calif./Tennessee Aquatics) in the men’s event.
Women’s 10-kilometer National Championship - Final
1. Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./TAC Titans), 1:52:12.105
2. Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif./Trojan Swim Club), 1:52:29.617
3. Erica Sullivan (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada), 1:52:31.972
• Twichell won her fourth career and third straight women’s 10K national title. She also touched first in 2012, 2016 and 2017.
• Twichell took the lead for good on the fourth of six laps and extended it down the stretch for the 17-second win.
• With the victory, Twichell earned a spot on her first Pan Pacific Championships roster.
• With the runner-up finish, Anderson qualified for her third straight Pan Pacific Champions roster – 2010, 2014 and 2018. Anderson was the 2014 Pan Pacs champion in the 10K.
• Twichell and Anderson will represent the U.S. in the 2018 Pan Pacs 10K in Tokyo. Two additional spots on the U.S. women’s roster for the Pan Pacs 10K will be on the line at the 2018 French National Championships on May 31 in Gravelines, France.
• Fourteen-year-old Mariah Denigan (Walton, Ky./Northern Kentucky Clippers) held a sizable advantage throughout the opening 5K of the race before Twichell and Anderson surged to the lead over the fourth lap.
Ashley Twichell (on staying relaxed while Denigan raced out to an early lead): “I knew I wanted stay controlled and smooth through the first three laps, to the 5K. I saw her out there at the beginning and tried to stay smooth and hoped that I would catch back up to her. I kind of like to be in the lead so that was a little bit tough to see someone way out there, but I just tried to stay smooth and controlled.”
Twichell (on qualifying for the Pan Pacific Championships roster): “I just came from the Olympic Training Center for a training trip out there. I really like to take it one accomplishment at a time. My focus was on this competition and hopefully earning a spot on the Pan Pacs team. This will be my first Pan Pacific Championships, so I’m really looking forward to that and obviously gearing up for next year, which is the [Olympic] qualifier for Tokyo.”
Haley Anderson (on the quick pace of today’s race): “From the second lap on we went at a pretty good speed, so I really didn’t have an extra gear to go to at the end, which I normally do. That’s something I can work on for the next few races I have lined up for the summer.”
Men’s 10-kilometer National Championship - Final
1. Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Team Santa Monica), 1:47:14.718
2. David Heron (Mission Viejo, Calif./Tennessee Aquatics), 1:47:27.713
3. Michael Brinegar (Columbus, Ind./Mission Viejo Nadadores), 1:47:27.779
• Wilimovsky earned his third career 10K Open Water National Championships victory, all coming in the last four years – 2015, 2017 and 2018.
• Wilimovsky took the lead over the back half of the race and touched more than 13 seconds clear of a photo finish for second.
• With the victory, Wilimovsky earned a spot on his second consecutive Pan Pacific Championships roster. He was 16th in the Pan Pacs 10K in 2014.
• Heron out-touched Brinegar for second to qualify for his first Pan Pacific Championships roster.
• Wilimovsky and Heron will represent the U.S. in the 2018 Pan Pacs 10K in Tokyo. Two additional spots on the U.S. men’s roster for the Pan Pacs 10K will be on the line at the 2018 French National Championships on May 31 in Gravelines, France.
Jordan Wilimovsky: (on the race from his perspective): “It was a fun race. This was the first time we swam at this course, so I was trying to get used to the course lines and just tried to stay relaxed the first half of the race, then build into the second half and make sure I had enough in the legs for the last thousand.”
Wilimovsky (on the race venue in Tempe): “The course was really nice, actually. It was a lot of fun and it’s really cool having this sea wall here where you can see the spectators on this one side of the course. It was a lot of fun.”
David Heron (on the close finish for second): “I expected it to come down pretty closely. I did pick it up halfway through the race to try to spread out the group. When Jordan was leading I was hoping we’d spread it out even more, which we did, but Brinegar stayed with us and he was a lot faster at the finish than I was expecting … I’m usually pretty good at finishes. I’ve been practicing that a lot at Tennessee, so it worked out.”
The competition in Tempe continues over the next two days with Saturday’s Open Water Junior National Championships 5K beginning at 8 a.m. and Sunday’s senior-level 5K national championship at 8 a.m., followed by the 7.5K Junior National Championships. A live webcast of each race will be available online at usaswimming.org.
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