| Friday, April 8, 2016National Team members Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./Mission Viejo Nadadores) and Andrew Gemmell (Wilmington, Del./Nation’s Capital Swim Club) raced to the 10-kilometer national titles on Friday at the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.
Twichell fought off Italy’s Rachele Bruni in the final 10 meters to touch with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute, 51.78 seconds for the 10K victory. Bruni finished in a time of 2:01:52.02, with Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha third in 2:01:55.41.
“It was tough mentally for me to stay strong, but I held on to what I had and that speed through the last buoy,” said Twitchell. “I’ve been focusing more in the pool lately for (Olympic) Trials, so I dialed into that speed and raced it out.”
Gemmell surged down the stretch to take the men’s victory in 1:53:53.79, ahead of Ferry Weertmann of the Netherlands, who was second in 1:53:55.11, and Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli, who finished third in 1:53:55.56.
Weertmann, Mellouli and Gemmell held their own in the lead pack for the first four laps before pulling away in the final 2,000-meters. Coming into the shoot, Gemmell out powered his competition to win by a body length.
In a thrilling women’s race, Twichell, Bruni and France’s Aurelie Muller commanded the lead pack throughout the first four laps of the 10K interchangeably taking the lead for short periods of time. As they headed into the shoot Twichell surged ahead of Bruni over the final 10 meters to secure the victory.
Open Water Nationals concludes Sunday with the 5K events opening with the men at 8 a.m. Eastern, followed by the women at 9:30 a.m. A live webcast will be available online viasftest.usaswimming.org.
The 2016 Open Water National Championships are held in conjunction with the 2016 Open Water Festival, which features a series of clinics and races, including a National Age Group Invitational being hosted by Gulf Coast Swim Club.