U.S. Nationals: Ally McHugh Goes All Out to Claim Title in 800 Freestyle

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Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

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Women’s 800 Free (Ally McHugh)

Ally McHugh knows what it’s like to sit around and wait to race. At the World Championships, McHugh’s lone event of the meet was the 400 individual medley, which was not scheduled until the last day of the eight-day competition. At least at Nationals, McHugh had the chance to race early on. McHugh is ranked 15th in the world for 2019 in this event.

Posting a time of 8:26.04, McHugh claimed the national crown in the 800 freestyle in 8:26.04, a little more than a second ahead of the 8:27.13 of Sierra Schmidt and the 8:27.36 of Ashley Twichell. McHugh negatively split the race, covering the first 400 meters in 4:15.04 and closing the last eight laps in 4:11.00. That approach actually enabled McHugh to deliver a last-to-first rally.

Twichell has an argument for being the most-exhausted athlete at Nationals, as she not only raced the 1500 freestyle at the World Championships, she contested the open-water 10K event in Gwangju, using that event to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Despite the heavy workload she has embraced, Twichell is still putting up strong performances.

In fourth was Kensey McMahon (8:28.68), followed by Haley Anderson (8:29.11) in fifth. Sixth place went to Emma Weyant (8:29.31) with seventh claimed by Cierra Runge (8:29.87) and eighth to Chase Travis (8:32.46).

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