Christine Jennings Wins Her First National Championship

Christine Jennings Wins Her First National Championship

Back in 2008 in her first major international open water championship in Seville, Spain, Christine Jennings was sandwiched between world champions Melissa Gorman, Poliana Okimoto and Angela Maurer – and learned a lesson on how rough and strategic the sport of open water swimming can be.

But step-by-step since the world’s best crashed into her, Christine has been chipping away at the heels of the best in America and around the world.

And, she finally broke through today, touching the finish pad in a major championship race first for the first time.

Similar to Friday’s 10K national championship race where Eva Fabian took off and pushed the pace, the field of 50 women was quickly whittled down by the fast-charging Eva.

The huge field evaporated behind the 16-year-old from New Hampshire and the 23-year-old from Colorado. Eva pushed the pace and Christine followed. Eva pushed the pace even more and Christine remained on her heels like glue. At the bell lap, Eva opened up full throttle, but Christine stuck right behind her, expertly drafting and conserving energy for the final 400 meters.

With 400 meters to go and Eva on her left, Christine inched up her side. Stroke for stroke, the two went at it like two boxers in the final round. At the final two strokes, the diminutive Eva had the disadvantage as Christine had the benefit of a longer reach. As Eva took the extra stroke, Christine’s arm came over the top to touch her out.

A national championship for the former University of Minnesota swimmer after a career of top five finishes. She has finally arrived. Next stop: Canada for the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Championships.

The final results of the top 15:

1. Christine Jennings (Colorado), 59:45.714
2. Eva Fabian (Greenwood Memorial Swim Club), 59:45.963
3. Zsofia Balazs (Canada), 1:00:08.411
4. Claire Thompson (West Florida Lightning Aquatic), 1:02:28.818
5. Kaitlin Pawlowicz (Curl Burke Swim Club), 1:02:38.260
6. Damaris Iriondo (Team Florida), 1:02:41.808
7. Karen Jewell (Canada), 1:02:47.260
8. Heather Maitland (Canada), 1:02:58.326
9. Ashley Twichell (Duke Aquatics), 1:03:00.915
10. Katura Harvey (North Carolina Aquatic Club), 1:03:21.110
11. Nadine Williams (Canada), 1:03:21.415
12. Beatrice Pineau (Canada), 1:03:22.229
13. Katy Campbell (Swim Pasadena), 1:03:22.992
14. Kailey Gardner (Ithaca Aquatics Club), 1:03:25.571
15. Rose O’Connor (Duke Aquatics), 1:03:29.851

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