What If?  Ashley Twichell

What If? Ashley Twichell

We asked professional marathon swimmer, world championship bronze medalist, and world team pursuit champion Ashley Twichell from North Carolina a series of “What if?” questions.

Here are her answers:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What if you saw a shark underneath you at an ocean swim? What would you do?
Ashley Twichell: People are always asking me if I’m scared of sharks when I swim, or what I would do if I saw one. But truth be told, the thought rarely, if ever, crosses my mind, especially when I am in the middle of a race. There is always so much going on and so many things to be focused on and analyzing throughout a race, that sharks are not even a thought. That being said, if I were to actually see a shark during a race, I believe I would alert a nearby boat, race officials, etc.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What if you had a half body lead on Poliana Okimoto with 100 meters to go in the Olympic final at the 2016 Rio Olympics? What would you do?
Ashley Twichell: If I had half a body length lead on ANYONE in the Olympic final, I wouldn’t do anything differently than what I always do at the end of every 10 km – race as hard as I can. Those last 100 meters your body, muscles, and brain are typically all screaming in pain – that feeling of intense burning is almost impossible to describe. Therefore, I just concentrate on taking it stroke by stroke, making each one as strong as I can.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What if someone elbowed you hard without the referee seeing? What would you do?
Ashley Twichell: Physical contact, both intentional and unintentional, occurs quite often without the referees seeing. Therefore, if the officials don’t whistle it, it is important to not let it bother you too much – this will waste too much of your energy. However, if this elbowing was consistent, I would attempt to get the official’s attention.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What if you were asked to swim across the English Channel? What would you do?
Ashley Twichell: I have contemplated the thought of swimming across the English Channel. It is certainly an impressive feat, and something I may consider doing after my competitive career is over. However, I think I would want to do it with a relay, and more for fun.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What if you were stung by a jellyfish in a race? What would you do?
Ashley Twichell: I have been stung in races before, and, honestly, it doesn’t really faze you as much as you may think. With all of the adrenaline coursing through your body during a race, a sting is not at the forefront of your mind.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What if Keri-Anne Payne attempted a breakaway at the 5 km mark in the Olympic 10 km Marathon Swim? What would you do?
Ashley Twichell: When anyone attempts to make a breakaway during a race, it is important to try to counter it. If someone makes a successful breakaway, they have gained both a physical and a mental advantage.

Photo of Ashley Twichell at the Midmar Mile wearing #13,064 by Anthony Grote of Gameplan+Media.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association