CASTAIC LAKE, Calif. – Olympian and defending world champion Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Team Santa Monica) and fellow USA Swimming National Team member Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./ North Carolina Aquatic Club) won the 10-kilometer national titles in convincing fashion Friday to open the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships.
Twichell is a Duke alumna who trains with North Carolina Aquatic Club under a quartet of University of North Carolina coaches including Tar Heel head coach Rich DeSelm, assistant coach Duncan Sherrard, assistant coach Sean Quinn and assistant coach Christy Garth. Her NCAC teammate, Charles "Chip" Peterson, finished fifth in the men's 10-meter kilometer race at the open water nationals on Friday. Peterson is a 2010 University of North Carolina alumnus. The 29-year-old native of Pine Knoll Shores, N.C., has been a volunteer assistant coach at the University of North Carolina for the past four seasons.
With the victories, Wilimovsky and Twichell clinched berths in the 10K at this summer's FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, as did the runners up – Brendan Casey (Santa Monica, Calif./Unattached) in the men's event and two-time Olympian Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif./Trojan Swim Club) in the women's race.
Men's 10-kilometer National Championship - Final
1. Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Team Santa Monica), 1:57:45.61
2. Brendan Casey (Santa Monica, Calif./Unattached), 1:58:37.38
3. Simon Huitenga (Australia), 1:58:38.74
5. Charles "Chip" Peterson (North Carolina Aquatic Club/Chapel Hill, N.C.), 1:58.41.469
Chip Peterson: "I was pleased overall with my performance. It was my best finish at nationals since 2010. I will likely get a position for World Championships from the placing. It will depend on the results of the 5k and other finishers' selections. I would have loved to have secured a 10k position at World Champs but am pleased with the potential opportunity to compete at a final World Championship before starting medical school in the fall. We compete in the 5k on Sunday where 2 World Championship positions are on the line."
Women's 10-kilometer National Championship - Final
1. Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./North Carolina Aquatic Club), 2:04:17.84
2. Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif./Trojan Swim Club), 2:05:10.85
3. Rachele Bruni (Italy), 2:05:11.25
- Twichell won her third career and second straight women's 10K national title. She also touched first in 2016 and 2012.
- With the victory today Twichell earned a spot on her third FINA World Championships roster – 2012, 2016 and 2017.
- Twichell and Anderson will represent Team USA in the FINA World Championships women's 10K in Budapest, Hungary, on July 16.
- Twichell pulled away from the pack on the third lap continued to build her advantage through the finish, touching nearly 1 minute ahead of the rest of the field.
Ashley Twichell: (on taking a commanding lead midway through the race): “It felt really good – definitely not what I was expecting. It wasn't my strategy going into it, and kind of like with open water, it doesn't go as planned. An Italian girl took off, and I followed her and looked behind me and was kind of surprised to see that we had a 10-15 meter lead and I just went with it.”
The competition continues over the next two days with Saturday's first-ever Open Water Junior National Championships 5-kilometer event beginning at 8 a.m. and Sunday's senior-level 5K national championship at 8 a.m. A live webcast of each race will be available online at usaswimming.org.