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Friday, April 27, 2012

Ashley Twichell Wins USA National Championships

Ashley Twichell of the Mission Viejo Nadadores played her cards right and comfortably won the USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Championships in Fort Myers, Florida this bright sunny morning.

After hugging the first place position with Eva Fabian and others on the first half of the race, the Duke University graduate laid down a ripping pace and opened up a huge lead with two loops to go on the six-loop course.

With her level of fitness and high navigational IQ, Twichell played to her strengths and qualified to represent the United States at the final Olympic 10km Marathon Swim qualifier in June.

Twichell's dominating performance was broadcast live on USA Swimming's website and demonstrated that the relatively inexperienced swimmer has the tools, savvy and aerobic base to contend for an Olympic medal on August 9th.

Twichell will be joined by USC's Haley Anderson who captured second place and will represent the United States in June. Anderson swam a controlled race, remaining patience for the entire race, until she made a strong move to break out of the chase pack and capture second.

The race in Portugal will require either Twichell or Anderson to place in the top 15 in order to punch their ticket to the London Olympics. But each country is only allowed one swimmer so the Portugal race will be a swim-off between the the Duke Blue Devil and the USC Trojan.

Twichell, with an even balanced stroke and a voracious appetite for hard work, is ideally suited to the open water. She swims straight and has a calm demeanor. During the race, she was at or tied for the lead position until Emily Brunemann made a move with about 4 km to go. Twichell matched that surge by Brunemann and then upped the ante. By the last loop, Twichell had opened up more than a 50-meter lead. Meanwhile, Anderson had to break out of the scrum that included Eva Fabian and Brunemann, Christine Jennings. Training under the tutelage of Olympic coach Dave Salo and Catherine Vogt, the native Californian has been developing into a world-class swimmer in her own right and is primed to continue getting better.

The race in Portugal and the race within a race should be a great one to watch between these two young Americans - and between themselves.

The top finishers included the following (full results are here):

1. Ashley Twichell 2:03:06.03
2. Haley Anderson 2:03:50.44
3. Christine Jennings 2:03:56.45
4. Eva Fabian 2:03:56.55
5. Tristin Baxter 2:03:57.78
6. Gillian Ryan 2:03:58.68
7. Emily Brunemann 2:03:59.61
8. Rachel Zillinskas 2:04:02.20

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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