FORT MYERS, Fla., June 5. AS the United States Open Water National Championships continued, Sara McLarty added to her growing reputation. A former standout at the University of Florida, McLarty has enjoyed a highly successful move from the pool to the open-water events.
Swimming the five-kilometer distance on Friday, McLarty torched the field, finishing the race in 56:50. The only female to break the one-hour mark, McLarty won her race by more than five minutes. Tanya Hunks picked up second place (1:01:59) and Karley Stutzel placed third in (1:02:06).
While McLarty is currently making waves in the open-water aspect of the sport, she enjoyed a sterling campaign last year. In addition to winning a silver medal in the 400 freestyle at the World Short Course Championships, she finished fourth in the 400 free at the U.S. Olympic Trials. McLarty was also a triple-event finalist at the NCAA Championships.
In the men’s five-kilometer race, Ricardo Monasterio eked out a narrow triumph over Chip Peterson. Clocking in at 56:50, Monasterio earned a one-second win over Peterson. Scott Kaufmann checked in third and was followed by Elliot Rushton and Chris Thompson.
In Saturday’s Dash for Cash races, covering a mile, McLarty won the women’s overall title and Kaufmann edged Monasterio for the overall men’s title. In the male 45-49 age group, Rowdy Gaines took top honors, as the three-time gold medalist from the 1984 Olympics earned nearly a 10-second decision.