CASTAIC, California, May 17. ALEX Meyer appeared to bide his time through 9900 meters of swimming in the men's 10K race at the USA Swimming open water nationals, then produced an explosive kick to win his second 10K title and place himself on the world championship roster.
Sean Ryan will line up in the world championship 10K in July with Meyer, hitting the finish pad in second place after leading for virtually the entire race. Ryan recently participated in the NCAA championships for the University of Michigan, placing in the top eight in the 1650 freestyle. Another recent NCAA participant, Georgia's Andrew Gemmell, placed third nearly 10 seconds behind Meyer after making a tactical error in the 500 meters that took him out of the line to approach the finish gate.
“(Sean) did most of the work pulling us away from the pack,” Meyer said. “I was just looking to find a pace that was comfortable for me that would allow me to push the pace. Thankfully Sean did most of the work for me.”
Meyer, Ryan and Gemmell broke away from the pack after completing four of the 1500-meter loops of the course on Castaic Lake, putting as much as 25 meters of water between them and the rest of the field. Ryan only lost the lead for about 500 meters, and during the final two loops, held on to the lead after a charge by Gemmell. Meyer never lost sight of Ryan and Gemmell, staying no less than a couple of meters back.
In the fifth loop, one of the turn buoys floated away after losing its anchor, causing brief confusion among the lead swimmers.
“You have to be prepared for things to come up quickly and not freak out about it,” Meyer said.
One of the tactical keys the three leaders used in the race was not using the feeding stations as much as the rest of the field. Meyer and Gemmell produced gel packs from their swimsuits to feed on without losing their position, whereas others took liquids from the feeding pontoon that generally slowed them down.
Meyer will be hungry for a podium position in the 10K swim in Barcelona this summer after finishing fourth at the 2011 world championships, missing third by two seconds. At the 2012 Olympics, after suffering a broken collarbone, he finished in tenth place.
Ryan will look to add to his world championship medal haul after taking gold in the 5K team event in 2011.