Ashley Twichell Dominates USA National Championships

Ashley Twichell Dominates USA National Championships

Courtesy of WOWSA, Castaic Lake, Southern California.

Oh, I was hurting those last 700, 800 meters. My arms…” said Ashley Twichell who completely dominated the USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships at Castaic Lake in Southern California.

The 27-year-old from North Carolina Aquatic Club had every reason to feel fatigued towards the end of the 10 km marathon swim. Twichell shot into the lead on the first loop of six, but then settled down into comfortably leading the lead pack together with Italy’s Olympic freestyler Martina De Memme.

The pair had separated themselves from the chase pack that included two Olympic silver medalists (Haley Anderson of the USA in 2012 and Rachele Bruni of Italy in 2016), but near the 5 km mark, De Memme pulled herself off the course, relinquishing the lead to Twichell.

Twichell had an interesting decision to make: should she continue the pace leading the race all by herself and challenge the rest of the field to catch her, or should she back off her pace and allow the rest of the pack to catch her and she could conserve energy for a fast closing finish?

She decided to make it hurt.

By the fifth loop of six, Twichell had gradually built her lead to 1 minute 9 seconds over the chase pack with Anderson, Bruni, Arianna Bridi, Becca Mann, Cathryn Salladin, Kareena Lee, Barbara Pozzobon, Alice Franco, Danielle Huskisson and Katy Campbell. Her lead was holding steady despite the pack of elites chasing her and her tendency to veer left when left completely alone.

She won by nearly a minute in 2 hours 4 minutes on a course that alternated between flat, tranquil conditions and bouncy, windy turbulence.

Twichell pulled away from the aquatic scrum that resulted in all kinds of physicality around the feeding pontoons.

Haley Anderson, shown in white swim cap above, finished second to earn a trip to the 2017 FINA World Championships in Lake Balaton, Hungary where she will represent the USA together with winner Ashley Twichell. The Americans will face off again with the pair of Italians, Bruni and Bridi.

1. Ashley Twichell 2:04:17.848
2. Haley Anderson 2:05:10.852
3. Rachele Bruni (Italy) 2:05:11.256
4. Arianna Bridi (Italy) 2:05:12.416
5. Becca Mann 2:05:13.427
6. Cathryn Salladin 2:06:47.575
7. Kareena Lee (Australia) 2:06:47.751
8. Barbara Pozzobon (Italy) 2:07:06.058
9. Alice Franco (Italy) 2:07:08.084
10. Danielle Huskisson (Great Britain) 2:07:11.949
11. Katy Campbell 2:07:16.808
12. Jade Dusablon (Canada) 2:07:21.005
13. Isabella Rongione 2:07:23.119
14. Taylor Pike 2:07:26.417
15. Samantha Arevalo (Ecuador) 2:07:45.189
16. Maggie Wallace 2:08:13.905
17. Stephanie Horner (Canada) 2:08:22.496
18. Alice Dearing (Great Britain) 2:10:29.017
19. Eva Fabian 2:11:05.872
20. Chenoa Devine 2:11:05.872
21. Joy Field 2:11:05.874
22. Chase Travis 2:11:54.586
23. Erica Sullivan 2:12:47.622
24. Kensey McMahon 2:14:00.651
25. Caitlin Daday 2:14:47.592
26. Mary Margaret Banick 2:14:47.861
27. Haley Pike 2:15:03.472
28. Libby Walker 2:15:30.759
29. Anna Kalandadze 2:15:35.878
30. Reese Lamph 2:16:11.927
31. Breanne Siwicki (Canada) 2:17:10.825
32. Sara Wanasek 2:17:46.332
33. Mariah Denigan 2:19:24.654
34. Hanna Huston 2:19:25.815
35. Sarah Nowaski 2:19:35.951
36. Ashlyn Fiorilli 2:22:08.915
37. Lara Hernandez-Tome 2:24:05.098
38. Victoria McCullough 2:24:32.796
Martina De Memme (Italy) DNF
Eliot Kennedy DNF
Gabrielle Kopenski DNF
Maggie Menso OTL
Kaitlynn Sims DNF

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Steven Munatones