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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Six-Beat vs. High Turnover At The Slam The Dam

This morning, professional marathon swimmer Mallory Mead and Open Water Swim Club's Lexie Kelly battled throughout the 8km Slam the Dam swim in Lake Mead, Nevada.

Back and forth the two Southern Californians went competed head-to-head surging and fading like the ebb and flow of the Las Vegas economy. Side-by-side at the start, the two took off in the middle of the starting pack of 65 swimmers.

For the first 2 miles, Mead shot out with the classic high turnover of a world-class marathoner, gradually building up a 30-meter lead. Then Kelly came back, kicking like a 1500m swimmer over the last 200. For the next 1.5 miles, Kelly turned the tables and slide into the lead with long, smooth strokes at a 60 spm pace.

But the experience of the faster stroking Mead, a member of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming with the English Channel and Catalina Channel under her cap, came to the fore. At the 4-mile mark, Mead pushed but Kelly pushed back. Then Kelly pushed and Mead pushed back. The lead flipped like a coin before a football game. But as in all tough competition then there was finally a chink in the armor.

"This was my longest swim to date. I was going with how I felt. I didn't know what it was going to be like," said Kelly who ultimately finished 30 seconds behind Mead in the 8K under gorgeous weather conditions and in the tranquil waters created by the Hoover Dam. "But it was fun and the scenery was majestic as the sun rose over the mountaintops."

But the day was not over for the dualists. The 8K'ers were also entered in the 1.2-mile. In this shorter event, the kick of Kelly was too much for Mead and the rest of the women's field. The Grand Slam competition was a combination of the 8K and 1.2 mile swims.

Grand Slam women's results (Top 3):
1. Lexie Kelly (OWSC), 2:14:21
2. Mallory Mead (Indy Aquatics) 2:15:31
3. Carri Cook (LBSU), 2:23:03

Grand Slam men's results (Top 3):
1. Deni Cullom, 2:05:10
2. Andy Bray, 2:06:32
3. Kurt Dickson, 2:12:27

8K results (Top 10 overall):
1. Adam Dawkins, Indiana, 1:41:53
2. Deni Cullom, Utah, 1:43:27
3. Andy Bray, California, 1:43:50
4. Bill May, Nevada, 1:46:10
5. Kurt Dickson, Arizona, 1:49:02
6. Mallory Mead, California, 1:50:32
7. Lexie Kelly, California, 1:51:02
8. Wes Johnson, Utah, 1:51:59
9. Isabel Whited, Arizona, 1:55:59
10. Carri Cook, California, 1:57:13

21-year-old Cullom who won the Grand Slam overall said, "For how I have been training, I felt pretty good. I had an injured tendinitis in my wrist and haven't been training. But I felt good in the 1.2 miler. I went for [it] at the start hoping that no one [would] catch me."

The previous Grand Slam record of Andy Bray was broken by Cullom (the "Grand Slammer") in an overall time of 2:05:10. In the women's Grand Slam, Kelly broke Mead's existing record with a time of 2:14:31 to become the Grand Slamstress. In a demonstration how fast the race is becoming, Kelly not only broke Mead's Grand Slam record, but she also bested the men's record by Bray also set in 2011.

In the Super Slam, Jan and Meredith Tichy won their respective gender divisions (1:21:48 for Meredith and 1:12:04 for Jan).

In the 2.4-mile, Jan Tichy won in 50:19 while wife Meredith won the women's division in 56:01.

In the 1.2-mile, Cullom won in 21:43 while Kelly, finishing sixth overall, won the women's division in 23:29.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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