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Sunday, May 19, 2013

USA Championships Too Close To Call For 23 Minutes

For 57 minutes the men in the 2013 USA Swimming National 5 km Open Water Swimming Championships had battled each other and the rough water elements in Castaic Lake. After barreling in the finish chute in two parallel 5-wides, the men slapped the finish pontoon with some loud slaps. The crowd gave a collective gasp…and then waited.

No one knew who won. Not the official nor the athletes. Not the coaches nor the parents. But the one thing that was obvious was the championships were treated to a truly entertaining and exciting race webcast live by USA Swimming.

For 23 minutes the swimmers, coaches, parents, and teammates stood by the officials tent waiting for the final results. No one was making predictions; the race was simply too close to call. Using a high-resolution camera, the race officials had to review the finish over and over to get the results right.

Finally, race announcer Sam Kendricks made the announcement. “Andrew Gemmell is the 2013 USA Swimming national 5 km champion.”

Sean [Ryan] and Jordan [Wilimovsky] were pushing the pace early in the race,” recalled the University of Georgia senior-to-be Gemmell. “I tried to make a move two times, especially going into the waves. It is easy to get lost in the waves, but it is also harder. I could feel the spray of the waves, but we all had to deal with it.”

Unlike the conditions during the 10 km race two days ago, the winds whipped up a fury on Castaic Lake. Going down the backstretch, the field was flying fast with the currents and winds pushing them faster than many of them had ever swum in the open water. But coming back the men faced a relentless series of random waves and surface chop, slapping them around like socks in a dryer.

When I pushed the pace twice, I had to fall back both times [into the pack]. With 800 meters to go, the lead pack slowed down. I had to fight back into position, but I got boxed in the middle of the pack. So I moved closest to the shore as I fought my way to the far left coming into the finish.

I breathe to that side so I wanted to be in a position to look at the field
.”

And Gemmell will next swim a 5 km at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. After his disappointing third-place finish in the 10 km, Gemmell recouped his energies and regained his focus. “After the 10K, I recovered pretty well. I put [the 10 km finish] in the back of my head. I have done multiple open water races before, so I was ready.”

Ready he was and ready he will be.

On the last day of the championships, we were also impressed with Sean Ryan's aggressiveness in pushing the pace, Jordan Wilimovsky's courage in competing with older rivals, Joey Pedraza's closing kick that nearly pushed him to victory, and the officiating crew led by Chip Carrigan.

The official results:

1 Andrew Gemmell (Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV) 57:22.07
2 Joey Pedraza (Davie Nadadores Swim Team-FG) 57:22.68
3 Sean Ryan (Club Wolverine-MI) 57:22.75
4 Jordan Wilimovsky (Team Santa Monica-CA) 57:23.24
5 Janardan Burns (Mission Viejo Nadadores-CA) 57:24.07
6 Brendan Casey (Team Santa Monica-CA) 57:25.14
7 David Heron (Mission Viejo Nadadores-CA) 57:25.35
8 Chip Peterson (North Carolina Aquatics Club-NC) 57:25.90
9 Daniel O'Connor (Mission Viejo Nadadores-CA) 57:27.18
10 Arthur Frayler (Germantown Academy Aquatic Club-MA) 57:27.33
11 Shawn Parkhurst (Unattached-NI) 57:29.26
12 Sam Petersen (University of Tennessee-SE) 57:30.96
13 Drew Ledwith (Greenwood Swimming-NE) 57:31.65
14 Riley Mita (Navy Swimming-MD) 57:31.86
15 Steve Sholdra (Fordham Swimming-MR) 57:33.28
16 Ryan Feeley (Club Wolverine-MI) 58:02.21
17 Bradley Phillips (Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV) 58:04.84
18 Nick Norman (Mission Viejo Nadadores-CA) 59:19.10
19 Joe Szczupakiewicz (Southwest Aquatic Team-WI) 59:35.97
20 Cory Mayfield (La Mirada Armada-CA) 59:48.10
21 Bobby Yribarren (Tiger Aquatics-PC) 59:48.26
22 Ryan Kao (La Mirada Armada-CA) 59:49.09
23 Jerad Kaskawal (FAST Swim Team-CA) 59:51.60
24 Scott Simmer (Team Santa Monica-CA) 1:00:40.38
25 Bryce Bevier (University of Tennessee-SE) 1:01:48.32
26 Nathan Pawlowicz (Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV) 1:02:12.85
27 Dirk Bell (LTP Racing Club-SC) 1:02:25.59
28 Simon Lamar (FAST Swim Team-CA) 1:02:26.84
29 Nicholas DeVito (Team Santa Monica-CA) 1:02:27.31
30 Nick Vargas (Buenaventura Swim Club-CA) 1:02:30.67
31 Mitchell Huxhold (Unattached-CC) 1:02:33.32
32 Alex Palumbo (Unattached-PN) 1:02:34.33
33 Peter Kalibat (Eastern Express Swim Team-NJ) 1:02:36.19
34 Noah Johnston (Lakeside Swim Team-KY) 1:02:39.39
35 Brandon Goldstein (Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV) 1:02:39.51
36 Brian Phillips (Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV) 1:02:59.02
37 Weston Miller (Scottsdale Aquatic Club-AZ) 1:03:11.09
38 Chris Yeager (First Colony Swim Team-GU) 1:03:13.58
39 Alex Nickell (Navy Swimming-MD) 1:03:13.58
40 Michael McGean (Shawmut Aquatic Club-NE) 1:03:15.87
41 Evan Munaretto (FAST Swim Team-CA) 1:03:32.60
42 Kyle Kemp (Y-Spartaquatics Swim Club-SC) 1:03:48.70
43 Noah Martin (Navy Swimming-MD) 1:03:49.28
44 Conor Cudahy (Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV) 1:04:54.24
45 Michael Caputo (Eastern Express Swim Team-NJ) 1:07:31.67
46 Christoph Grimmett-Norris (Nation's Capital Swim Club-PV) 1:08:28.79
47 Parker Greene (Scottsdale Aquatic Club-AZ) 1:12:15.55

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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