CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia, July 13. ABBY Nunn is considered a newcomer within the U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS) community. Competing in her first USMS race yesterday at the age of nineteen, the Yale University student swam like a seasoned open water veteran, becoming the third female to win the overall title in the 33-year history of the renowned 2-mile event. Her winning time of 40:39.67 was a women's course record and established a new USMS national record for the 18-24 age bracket. Her time also ranks her seventh all-time for the event.
Nunn was pleased with her first experience at this popular event. "There have been a lot of fast swimmers who have competed in this race over the years, and it is amazing to me that my time ranks me so highly."
Earlier in the day, Nunn won the 1-mile event in 20:02.38, another national record for women 18-24. Nunn took advantage of ideal conditions this year as the winds were calm and the water was an unusually cool 78-80 degrees. "The water was a good temperature for a forty-minute swim, and there were almost no waves. It was basically like swimming in a 440 yard pool."
The record-breaking swims20took place at Chris Greene Lake in Charlottesville at the annual event hosted by Virginia Masters Swim Team. Athletes of all ages have been competing in the 2-mile cable swim on the second Saturday in July every year since 1977. A one-mile event was added last year, and both events are conducted along a quarter-mile straightaway. Participants swim beside a rope that is stretched between two permanent wooden pylons. The rope is supported with small buoys spaced every five meters.
Three-time defending champion Chris Stevenson, 44, had to settle for second this year. His time of 41:03.05 was the fastest time among the men, and also broke his own national record for men 40-44 by a few seconds (41:11.58 in 2006).
Stevenson was aware of Nunn's speed before the race and had the opportunity to watch her compete in the 1-mile event that morning. "I knew Abby was a very strong open water swimmer and she had just done the 1-mile race about 15 seconds faster than I did it the previous year. My strategy was just to draft off Abby as long as I could. That worked for about half the race, but then she just gradually started pulling away. She has such a strong kick that drafting wasn't all that advantageous."
Nunn and Stevenson have both been training at NOVA of Virginia Aquatics in Richmond this summer. Nunn, a 2008 graduate of Deep Run High School, trains under Coaches Geoff Brown and Brent St. Pierre and has been practicing seven times per week, averaging 8,000 yards per practice. Stevenson, who represents Virginia Mast ers Swim Team in competition, trains with the NOVA Master's group under Coach Mark Kutz.
Over the course of the day, there were six national records set in the 1-mile race and three set in the 2-mile race. Headlining the list of record-holders was Shirley Loftus-Charley, 57, who has competed at the race every year since 1982. This year, Loftus-Charley won the 2-mile race in her age group for the 20th time and also set a new national record in the 1-mile race.
A complete list of new USMS records established Saturday reads as follows:
1-Mile Cable Swim:
Name (Gender) Age Team Final Time Previous Record
Abby Nunn (F) 19 UNAT 20:02.38 K. Bryan, 23:25.46, 1983
Shirley Loftus-Charley (F) 57 SMAM 24:23.65 B. Russ, 30:06.41, 1986
Andrea Hunt (F) 61 DCM 28:04.67 A. Svenson, 28:09.13, 2006
Betsy Durrant (F) 67 VMST 31:01.75 B. Jordan, 31:44.99, 2003
Jim McFarland (M) 51 VMST 21:52.28 S. Kooistra, 23:11.86, 1978
Willis Braswell (M) 64 DCM 24:24.93 R. Williams, 24:55.99, 2003
2-Mile Cable Swim:
Name & nbsp; Age Team Final Time Previous Record
Abby Nunn (F) 19 UNAT 40:39.67 R. Rice, 41:36.03, 1997
Marcia Barry (F) 60 VMST 51:57.42 J. Menard, 55:35.37, 2008
Chris Stevenson (M) 44 VMST 41:03.05 C. Stevenson, 41:11.58,2006
The first annual Virginia Open Water State Championships were also held on Saturday, and 115 swimmers ages 9-19 competed in the USA Swimming event hosted by NOVA of Virginia Aquatics. For more information about both events, please visit www.cableswim.org and www.virginiaswimming.org
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