Chenoa Devine, Following the Best Into the Open Water

Photo Courtesy: Chenoa Devine

By Brittany Oxley, Swimming World College Intern

Open water swimming has become increasingly popular in recent years. Swimmers such as Haley Anderson have elevated it to new heights. Anderson, a Northern California native and silver medalist at the 2012 Olympics, has someone close to home chasing after her. Chenoa Devine, a 16-year-old who also hails from Northern California, has her eyes set on Anderson’s success.

Devine recently competed in USA Swimming’s Open Water Nationals in which she became a new member of the U.S. National Junior Team after placing 13th overall in the 10k.

“I love open water because I am an incredibly competitive person and open water is all about whether or not you can bear the person next to you,” Devine said. “Also, I love how it is unpredictable and wild. You have to be aware and ready for anything.”

Preparations for Open Water

Physically, in order to prepare for Open Water Nationals, Devine increased her daily yardage by about 2,000. Since swimming a 5k or 10k is much longer than swimming a mile, she had to be ready to swim for well-over two hours, rather than 17 minutes.

Though the physical aspect is daunting, Devine thinks that being mentally prepared is what made the biggest impact on her success.

Devine says she never let thoughts of fear get into her head.

“I made sure to never give up,” she said. “I know if I don’t let the pressure get to me or the length of the race intimidate me, I will succeed. If you believe in yourself and are confident in yourself, there is nothing that can hold you back.”

Those words and her mental strength are what elevated her to the next level and will continue to push her in her swimming career.

Big Sisters

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Chenoa has her goals aimed at Olympic Trials next summer, where she would like to follow in Anderson’s footsteps. Devine says she looks up to Haley Anderson and Eva Fabian.

“They are both such encouraging, funny, kind-hearted people, and I would be lucky to grow up like them,” Devine said.

Anderson, who is arguably USA Open Water Swimming’s most successful athlete, won her Olympic medal at the age of 21. At the age of 17, she placed 17th in the 400 I.M., 20th in the 400m. free, and 25th in the 800m. free at the 2008 Olympic Trials. In a four-year span, Anderson became the golden girl of open water swimming.

At the age of 16, Fabian won the gold medal at the 2009 Open Water National Championships. Last year, she won the silver medal in the 10k at the 2014 Pan-Pacific Championships in Maui, Hawaii.

Both Anderson and Fabian were young when they initially had success, but continued to progress with strength and now are among USA Swimming’s top swimmers.

Right On Track

Seeing her role models achieve success at a young age has helped Devine realize her goals are achievable. Next summer, Devine will be 17 years old. She has so many years ahead of her in the sport of swimming and her determination along with passion for the sport will be the driving force behind her success. Chenoa is proof of the success that happens when mental strength prevails.

Devine says that she is motivated by her teammates and that without their support, she would not be where she is. Devine is currently a junior at Davis High School in Davis, California and trains under Billy Doughty at Davis Arden Hills Racing Team. She averages 8,000 yards per practice, seven days a week. Her next meet is Summer Nationals this August in San Antonio, Texas where she is hoping to place well in preparation for Olympic Trials next year.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    J J Eaton

    What a well written article.
    I cheer those young swimmers on.