David Johnston Added to Olympic Open Water; Erin Gemmell Gets Individual 200 Free Swim

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

David Johnston Added to Olympic Open Water; Erin Gemmell Gets Individual 200 Free Swim

USA Swimming made two adjustments to its Olympic roster on Thursday, with David Johnston added to the open water team and Erin Gemmell promoted to swim the women’s 200 free.

Johnston qualified for the men’s 1,500 freestyle on the final day of the meet. He will add an open water swim in the men’s 10-kilometer to that swim, joining Ivan Puskovitch. Johnston will swim prelims of the men’s 1,500 on Aug. 3, with the final on Aug. 4. The men’s open water race is schedule to take place in the River Seine on Aug. 9.

Johnston has competed in open water events only sparingly. His last participation in open water nationals was way back in 2019, when he finished 25th in the men’s 5-kilometer swim. (He was, to be fair, ahead of Olympians Felix Aubock, Charlie Swanson and Kieran Smith that day.) That appears to be his only participation in open water nationals.

Paris is the fifth Olympics to feature an open water 10-kilometer race, and this is only the second time that the U.S. fills the allotment of two spots. Both Jordan Wilimovsky and Sean Ryan swam in the 2016 edition. Wilimovsky was fifth that year and 10th in 2021 as the lone American representative.

Gemmell is the inheritor of the spot in the 200 free vacated by Katie Ledecky. Ledecky won the event at U.S. Olympic Trials with a time of 1:55.22 but immediately signaled her intention not to swim it in Paris if she qualified in the 800 free and 1,500 free. She did both and will maintain her spot in the 800 free relay.

Claire Weinstein finished second in 1:56.18. Third was Paige Madden, who also qualified in the 400 free and 800 free and has thus apparently eschewed that event.

That leaves it to Gemmell, the first-time Olympian who finished fourth n 1:56.73, .39 behind Madden.

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