Christine Jennings, Tough As Nails In The Pan Pacs

Christine Jennings, Tough As Nails In The Pan Pacs

The 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships culminated in an entertaining race – up and back and up and back and up and back over 10,000 meters in the women’s 10K marathon swim in Marine Stadium in Long Beach, California.

Simply put, the women gutted it out – going hard right from the start and showing hearts of champions.

After Eva Fabian pulled the women to a fast-paced race in the five-loop course, it was Christine Jennings from Colorado who stuck around the lead, expertly bidding her time to bolt into the lead.

How fast was Eva pulling along the women that included Christine, Emily Brunemann, Melissa Gorman, Haley Anderson, Cara Baker, Zsofia Balazs and Danielle DeFrancesco? Faster than all the men at the end of the first 2K loop. Faster than the men with the exception of the top three at the end of the 4K loop. At the 6K, the women were still giving it their all, visibly rosy in the cheeks, shoulders and back – faster than all but the top six men.

Typically physical, the nature of the women’s pack changed visibly after Olympian Chloe Sutton was disqualified after receiving her second yellow card.

Christine’s 2K splits were 23:48, 23:58, 23:47, 24:33, 24:27 – which were only a small fraction different than the splits from the other top four women. The men’s winner, Chip Peterson, in contrast went 24:03, 23:11, 23:01, 23:04 and 22:41.

On the last feed, I saw an opportunity to feed and took it. I knew I needed it and at the end it really did help,” explained Christine. “I started fading at the 4K, missed my feed at the 5K to catch Eva, took a gel at the 5.5K, fed at the 6K, took a gel at 7K, fed at the 8K, gel at 8.6K and then fed again at 9K. I knew I needed to get as much in as possible because the more I take, the better I finish.”

Around the last turn buoy, Christine and Eva went whizzing by the 180° turn with Emily, Haley and Melissa right on their toes. But after winning the 1500-meter freestyle, Melissa just did not have it in her for today. So it was a four-way race between the four Americans.

Christine edged into the lead with Eva nipping at her toes. Christine veered far left coming into the finish, then moved right, then left again. But her shifts in direction were mirrored by Eva and the women behind her, enabling Christine to influence the race in her favor. But she also demonstrated the closing speed to seal the deal and return home to Colorado as the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championship 10K gold medalist.

Winning for the USA was really awesome. It has definitely given me more confidence for future races. This summer has also made me realize that I can be one of the best. I’ve really focused on mental training because I had to train myself a lot this past year.

Faith is also another huge contributing factor

The women’s times and 2K split times courtesy of Powerhouse Timing are here:

1. Christine Jennings (USA), 2:00:33.8 (23:48, 47:46, 1:11:33, 1:36:06, 2:00:33)
2. Eva Fabian (USA), 2:00:35.7 (23:46, 47:42, 1:11:30, 1:36:03, 2:00:35)
3. Emily Brunemann (USA), 2:00:37.8 (23:50, 47:48, 1:11:36, 1:36:07, 2:00:37)
4. Haley Anderson (USA), 2:00:40.9 (23:54, 47:53, 1:11:38, 1:36:09, 2:00:40)
5. Melissa Gorman (AUS), 2:00:56.5 (23:47, 47:47, 1:11:30, 1:36:02, 2:00:56)
6. Zsofia Balazs (CAN), 2:02:23.3 (23:53, 47:50, 1:11:51, 1:36:30, 2:02:23)
7. Danielle DeFrancesco (AUS), 2:02:26.4 (23:51, 47:49, 1:11:41, 1:36:11, 2:02:26)
8. Cara Baker (NZL), 2:03:44.4 (23:50, 47:49, 1:11:43, 1:36:35, 2:03:44)
9. Nadine Williams (CAN), 2:04:06.7 (23:54, 47:53, 1:12:47, 1:38:52, 2:04:06)
10. Samantha Hoschke-Edwards (AUS), 2:04:20.6 (23:52, 47:50, 1:12:03, 1:38:02, 2:04:20)
11. Stacey Hansford (AUS), 2:06:52.1 (24:00, 48:03, 1:13:32, 1:39:50, 2:06:52)
12. Yumi Kida (JPN), 2:08:00.0 (23:56, 48:03, 1:13:26, 1:39:50, 2:08:00)
– Poliana Okimoto (BRA), DNF
– Chloe Sutton (USA), Disqualified

Photo of the women’s start courtesy of Beth Barnes. The signage and festivities at the Pan Pacific Championships 10K marathon swim were courtesy of Run Racing.

Photo of the American women after the 10K race by Lucy Johnson.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones