PHOENIX, Arizona, May 17. THE USA Swimming open water nationals opened this morning with two very, very exciting races in the women's and men's 10K at Castaic Lake in southern California. Christine Jennings won her first national title in one of the closest finishes we've seen at nationals, pulling ahead of a tight field to win by less than a second and qualify for the world championship team. Placing second was 15-year-old Becca Mann, who hit the finish pad just mere tenths ahead of Eva Fabian to put herself on the world championship team as well for the 10K. Jennings and Mann had lurked in the back of the pack for the first two-thirds of the race, letting Fabian and Ashley Twichell jockey for the lead. For about 30 minutes early in the race, Tyler Clary's younger sister Lindsey was holding the lead, but fell back after misjudging a buoy turn.
The men's race saw three veterans pull away from the pack and fight for the two spots available on the world championship roster. Alex Meyer put in a powerful finishing kick to get past Sean Ryan and win the 10K title and get the chance to swim the race in Barcelona. Ryan finished second, also getting on the team. Andrew Gemmell was in the hunt for virtually the entire race, but took a different line toward the finish that turned out to be a tactical error, finishing in third. All the swimmers will take time to rest from today's swimming and will be back for the 5K swim on Sunday.
Up north in Concord, California, the North Coast sectional high school championships are underway. Carondelet High School will be the team to watch on the girls' side. They were Swimming World Magazine's girls' high school team of the year in 2010 and could contend for that title this year. Chelsea Chenault is looking to wrap up her senior year with fast swims in the 200 and 500 free styles, while Madison White, also a nationally-ranked swimmer, is the top seed in the 100 free and 100 back. On the boys' side, junior national champion Steven Stumph will be going for the top time in the nation in the 100 breast and looks to be impressive as well in the 200 IM. Last year, Stumph had the fastest 100 breast in high school and could close out his high school career with another number one swim.
Cullen Jones is conducting swim clinics with Olympic teammates Jimmy Feigen and Lia Neal this weekend in New York City as part of USA Swimming's Make a Splash week in the Big Apple. Today, Jones did a swim clinic before taking part in a swarm of media interviews. He'll continue his rounds today and tomorrow to wrap up the trip.
USA Diving completed semifinals of the men's three-meter springboard and women's platform yesterday. Kristian Ipsen has a comfortable lead in the three-meter event and looks to take the title in Sunday's finals, while Victoria Lamp is the top qualifier in the platform event. After a tough prelim that had him in 17th place, veteran Troy Dumais clawed back and will be in fourth position for the three-meter finals. Today's competition will see Olympic champion David Boudia on the 10-meter platform, and after qualifying for the world championship team on the 1-meter springboard, Deidre Freeman and Samantha Pickens lead qualifiers in the women's three-meter.