By USA Swimming | Thursday, August 3, 2017
Open water world champion Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./North Carolina Aquatic Club) and Olympic gold medalist Gunnar Bentz (Atlanta, Ga./Athens Bulldog Swim Club) picked up wins on night one of the U.S. Open at the Nassau County Aquatics Center.
Fresh off the 2017 FINA World Championships, Twichell took home gold in the women’s 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8:30.63. Ashley Neidigh (Jacksonville, Fla./Unattached) took second with an 8:34.71, while Taylor Ault (Hacienda Heights, Calif./La Mirada Armada) turned in an 8:36.26 for third place.
“Coming off of open water I wasn’t really sure where I would be at,” Twichell said. “Happy with the swim, and I just wanted to get in there and race. I figured I’d come back from worlds, I had about a week. I hadn’t medaled on the world stage in open water since 2011, so to come back and win a medal was really great.”
In the men’s 200m butterfly, Bentz topped the field by over a second in 1:56.34. Finishing second was Miles Smachlo (Rexfield, N.Y./Unattached) with a time of 1:57.73. Bowen Gough of Australia rounded out the top three finishers with a 1:59.15.
“It was pretty good, I only added eight tenths from world trials,” Bentz said. “Cheering [the world championships team] on was just incredible and they were just on fire all week.”
Ruby Martin (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa Flyers Swim Club) took home gold in the women’s 200m fly with a 2:10.18. Italy’s Francesca Stoppa finished second with a 2:11.05, while Vanessa Krause (Unattached/Chesterton, Ind.) picked up third place with a time of 2:11.13.
In the men’s 100m free Robert Howard (Alexander City, Ala./University of Alabama Swim Club) won the title with a 49.04 and was followed by Tate Jackson (Austin, Texas/Longhorn Aquatics), who posted a 49.11. Maxime Rooney (Livermore, Calif./Pleasanton Seahawks) and B.J. Hornikel (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Unattached) tied for bronze with a times of 49.25.
Other wins on night one included:
- France’s Marie Wattel in the women’s 100m free with a 54.27
- France’s Damien Joly in the men’s 1500m free with a 14:55.46, a new meet record
The 2017 U.S. Open continues through Sunday, Aug. 6 with daily prelims at 9 a.m. ET and finals at 5 p.m. ET.
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