FORT MYERS BEACH, Florida, May 19. DURING the second day of swimming at the 2007 USA Swimming Open Water National Championships held in Fort Myers, Fla. from May 17-21, Chip Peterson of North Carolina Aquatic Club and Chloe Sutton of California Capital Aquatics, each picked up their second titles of the event in the 10K.
Peterson, who already claimed the 5K two days ago, stopped the clock in 1:41:18.75 to win the men's race, while Sutton topped the women in 1:49:08.63.
Not only did the wins give the duo a pair of titles this year, they both defended their national crowns from a year go.
"I'm very excited," Sutton said. "This year, I got both races. I had so much fun out there today. This 10K was definitely the hardest race I ever swam."
"It was tough," he said. "I expected it would be a better competition today (than in Thursday's 5K), and it was by far the hardest national open water race I've been in. When I started leading at the beginning of the final leg, I thought I was going to be able to break away pretty easy, but there were always three or four guys right on my feet. It was really exciting. I knew this was going to be a pretty tough Nationals, and those were some amazingly fast times, as well."
As the Olympic distance in open water, the top 15 American men and women qualified for the U.S. Open Water Olympic Selection Meet/World Championships Trials to be held back in Fort Myers from Oct. 20-21. Additionally, the top two American men and women qualified for the 2007 Pan American Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from July 10-15, while the top four men and women also earned spots at the Open Water World Cup held in Seville, Spain from June 4-10.
"It was just really competitive," Sutton said. "It was an extremely fast field out there. Everyone was trying to push me, and I'm trying to stay ahead and sprint the last thousand meters after just swimming 9,000."
In the men's race, Fran Crippen of Mission Viejo finished second in 1:41:43.61, while Mark Warkentin of Santa Barbara Swim Club took home bronze in 1:41:47.27.
"I'm very happy," Crippen said. "I've been a pool swimmer my whole life, and my (big meet) experience in the pool helped me with this. I just kept calm. Eating throughout the race and having a good race plan was key. I just wanted to conserve as much energy as possible and get a good finish at the end, and I did."
In the women's race, Kalyn Keller of Club Wolverine – the United States' only medalist at Worlds, placed second in 1:49:10.46, while Kirsten Groome of First Colony Swim Team claimed third in 1:41:12.32.
"Last year was my first time to do a 10K, and I wasn't sure I'd live through it," Keller said. "This year I'm in much better shape. In fact, I might have taken it a little bit too easy, because I felt like I had a little too much left at the end. But I think I'm learning when to push and when to hold back. Thankfully, I'll have the opportunity to travel and try that out (against international competition)."
Click here for USA Swimming's photo gallery of the event.
USA Swimming Open Water National Championships
Men – 1. Chip Peterson, North Carolina Aquatic Club, 1:41:18.75; 2. Fran Crippen, Mission Viejo Nadadores, 1:41:43.61; 3. Mark Warkentin, Santa Barbara Swim Club, 1:41:47.27; 4. Noa Sakamoto, unattached, 1:41:47.65; 5. Scott Kaufman, Reno Aquatic Club, 1:43.10.69; 6. Ricardo Monasterio, Gator Swim Club, 1:43:35.63; 7. Jarrod Ballem, University of Calgary, 1:43:36.84; 8. Philippe Dubreuil, Club Nationale de Sherbrooke, 1:43:42.38.
Women – 1.Chloe Sutton, California Capital Aquatics, 1:49:08.63; 2. Kalyn Keller, Club Wolverine, 1:49:10.46; 3. Kirsten Groome, First Colony Swim Team; 1:49.12.32; 4. Tanya Hunks, UBC Dolphins, 1:50:18.26; 5. Erica Rose, unattached, 1:51:29.52; 6. Leah Gingrich, WSY Swimming, 1:53:57.96; 7. Christine Jennings, Minnesota Aquatics, 1:53:58.78; 8. Whitney Sprague, North Carolina Aquatic Club, 1:54:00.58.
Special thanks to USA Swimming for contributing to this report.