Trent Grimsey of Australia stunned the all-star field of pool and open water swimmers at the 9th RCP Tiburon Mile, winning by 14 seconds in 20:31 over Olympic 10K bronze medalist Thomas Lurz and world open water champion Vladimir Dyatchin.
In the highly anticipated race of pool and open water stars, Trent immediately shot out to the front and took his own line across the 1.2-mile channel from Angel Island to the City of Tiburon just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
A pack of Lurz, Dyatchin, Brendan Capell of Australia and Oussama Mellouli, the 1500 gold medalist, took a different conservative line to the finish, all drafting off each other, but they couldn't chase down the smooth-swimming Grimsey.
John Naber, who announced the event with Rowdy Gaines and Jonny Moseley, asked Grimsey after the race if he had any doubts of his strategy because we was swimming alone. "I didn't second-guess myself and once I went for it, I was committed to my plan."
Grimsey, who similarly dominated the 2008 Waikiki Roughwater Swim and did a 15:12 in the 1500-meter freestyle in the Australia's Olympic Trials, said, "I decided to swim wide and go to the left [of the other swimmers] because I breathe to my right and I wanted to see the field. I basically went fast the entire race."
The race shaped up much differently on the women's side. The race was undecided until world open water champion Britta Kamrau of Germany and two-time world open water silver medalist Ekaterina Seliverstova of Russia reached the shoreline and both ran up the beach for the finish. "I am not good at running and I have never done a race where there is a run at the finish. I just put one step ahead of the other and beat [Seliverstova]," said Kamrau.
Kirsten Groome of Louisiana and Luane Rowe of Sydney followed closely behind the top two women to take third and fourth respectively.
As the open water world looks to the 2012 London Olympics, the importance of swimming fast in cold water has become ever more important. With an incredibly line-up of competitors swimming in the 63°F (17°C) waters of San Francisco Bay, the Tiburon Mile is a great event to help athletes prepare.
"I'll probably use some of the [$10,000] prize money to travel to the FINA World Cup races," said Grimsey who obviously has his eyes on a bigger prize.