SWIMMING: Paltrinieri and Twichell shine brightest at U.S. Open Water Nationals

World 5 km Open Water Champion Ashley Twichell (USA)

Of the four senior races at the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships in Miami, Florida, American swimmers won only one.

But that was hardly the point as the meet served to select the U.S. swimmers for the Open Water events at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Korea in July. And it showed that the U.S. is, as expected, in contention for medals against the best in the world.

In the men’s races, Rio 1,500 m Freestyle champion Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) won both the 5 km and 10 km races. U.S. star Jordan Wilimovsky took second in the 10 km race and will have a factor at the Worlds, with David Heron finishing fourth and earning his ticket to Korea as well.

“It was a fun race,” said Wilimovsky. “I’m stoked that I was able to make the Worlds team in the 10k. I just tried to hang back for the first little bit of the race, and I noticed that Greg [Paltrinieri] and the other Italian guys were working hard and pulling away, so I had to get moving the second half of the race. But I was happy overall on how it went and I felt strong the whole way.”

It will be Wilimovsky’s fourth World Championships; he was World Champion in the race in 2015. Heron will be going to his third Worlds.

In the 5 km race, Paltrinieri led an Italian sweep with Domenico Acerenza and Mario Sanzullo finishing second and third. Americans Zane Grothe and Brennan Gravley took the first two American places (fourth and fifth); with Grothe already slated to swim the 400-800-1,500 m Free races in the pool, Gravley and Michael Brinegar will swim in the Open Water events.

The women’s races matched up the highly-respected Brazilian star Ana Marcela Cunha and American Ashley Twichell in both events, with Cunha winning the 10 km by 0.50 and Twichell taking the 5 km by 0.03.

Twichell will be swimming in her fourth Open Water Worlds, while Haley Anderson, the third-place finisher in the 10 km, will be going to her fifth.

Said Twichell, “In 2012, I just missed the Olympic team at the Olympic qualifier, and in 2015, I placed third at our Nationals, so it’s definitely a relief and I’m excited to be competing in the 10k at Worlds this summer.”

Twichell won the 5 km on Sunday, with Cunha second, Hannah Moore third and Anderson fourth by 0.32. It will be the first Worlds for Moore.

They should all be in the mix for medals in Korea. Twichell is the reigning World Champion at 5 km, while Anderson owns the 2012 Olympic 10 km silver and won 5 km golds at the 2013 and 2015 Worlds. Summaries:

USA Swimming Open Water National Championships
Miami, Florida (USA) ~ 3-5 May 2019
(Full results here)

Men/5 km: 1. Gregorio Paltinieri (ITA), 53:42.32; 2. Domenico Acerenza (ITA), 53:42.78; 3. Mario Sanzullo (ITA), 54:33.19; 4. Zane Grothe, 54:34.71; 5. Brennan Gravley, 54:36.22; 6. James Brinegar, 54:55.62; 7. David Heron, 54:55.67; 8. Ivan Puskovitch, 55:04.65; 9. Nico Hernandez-Tome, 55:22.70; 10. Samuel Rice, 55:23.70.

Men/10 km: 1. Paltrinieri (ITA), 1:49:25.37; 2. Jordan Wilimovsky, 1:50:57.35; 3. Sanzullo (ITA), 1:51:41.21; 4. Heron, 1:55:22.03; 5. Brinegar, 1:52:24.48; 6. Gravley, 1:52:25.43; 7. Victor Johansson (SWE), 1:52:30.09; 8. Brendan Casey, 1:52:56.34; 9. Theodore Smith, 1:52:56.92; 10. Taylor Abbott, 1:52:57.13.

Junior Men/5 km: 1. Dylan Becker, 58:18.48; 2. Joseph Tepper, 58:21.07; 3. Caleb Gould, 58:33.02; 4. Connor Hughes, 58:40.06; 5. Dylan Gravley, 58:40.74.

Women/5 km: 1. Ashley Twichell, 58:25.97; 2. Ana Marcela Cunha (BRA), 58:26.00; 3. Hannah Moore, 58:27.15; 4. Haley Anderson, 58:27.47; 5. Erica Sullivan, 58:34.50; 6. Rebecca Mann, 58:35.09; 7. Mariah Denigan, 59:26.01; 8. Kensey McMahon, 1:00:17.35; 9. Kathryn Campbell, 1:00:18.19; 10. Julissa Arzave, 1:00:56.43.

Women/10 km: 1. Cunha (BRA), 2:00:00.17; 2. Twichell, 2:00:00.67; 3. Anderson, 2:00:01.10; 4. Sullivan, 2::00:06.00; 5. Campbell, 2:00:13.55; 6. Mann, 2:00:14.65; 7. Denigan, 2:00:45.38; 8. McMahon, 2:01:10.10; 9. Chase Travis, 2:01:58.07; 10. Brooke Travis, 2:02:16.93.

Junior Women/5 km: 1. Chase Travis, 1:02:07.57; 2. Kathryn Grimes, 1:02:26.82; 3. Anna Auld, 1:02:30.90; 4. Cadence Fort, 1:02:31.11; 5. Carlie Rose, 1:02:31.17.