SANTA CLARITA, California, June 4. THE first members of the United States’ team for the Pan Pacific championships will be selected next week at the open water nationals, to be held at Castaic Lake in southern California.
The start lists for the 10K national title race were released today by USA Swimming. They feature 47 women and 55 men who will be fighting for four open spots per gender available to compete in the 10K swim at the Pan Pacific championships in Australia in August. As with every open water race, there is no “A” cut to beat. The first four to hit the finish pad qualify, and often the finishers place within a few seconds of each other after about two hours of nonstop swimming.
Among the competitors set to swim are Christine Jennings and Chip Peterson, the reigning Pan Pac 10K champions. Jennings is also the reigning national champion, and she’ll be looking to qualify for her second international squad in as many years. The top six finishers from last year’s 10K — Becca Mann, Eva Fabian, Emily Brunemann, Ashley Twichell and Tristin Baxter — are also set to fight for roster spots next week. Fabian and Brunemann were on the Pan Pac open water team in 2010, where Fabian won silver and Brunemann placed ninth. Gillian Ryan, a rising star in distance events in the pool, is trying her hand at the marathon swim this year.
The top seven finishers from last year’s men’s 10K race are back this year, including reigning champion and Pan Pac team member Alex Meyer. Meyer did not finish the 10K swim in the 2010 Pan Pacs, withdrawing after feeling ill during the race. That event remains a seminal moment in open water swimming history, as the late Fran Crippen gave up a chance to win the gold medal by leaving the lead pack to check on Meyer’s condition. Crippen would later catch the leaders and finish in second place.
Sean Ryan and Andrew Gemmell also swam the 10K at Pan Pacs in 2010, and will be looking to return for the chance to win a medal.
Six total roster spots will also be filled for the junior Pan Pacific championships from the 10K swim. The junior event will be held in Hawaii a week after the “senior” Pan Pacs. The team will be picked by those who did not make the “senior” Pan Pac team and are between 13 and 18 years old.
The 10K race will be followed two days later by the 5K swim. The shorter race will be used to select the four men and four women for the junior world open water championship. Selection for this will be divided into two swimmers per gender ages 14-16 and ages 17-18 as of December 31.