2017 U.S. Open Day One: The French Come to Play

by Robert Gibbs 2

August 02nd, 2017 College, News, Previews & Recaps


One of the quirks in the USA Swimming long course schedule is that the U.S. Open now occurs only the first two years of each quad and serves as a meet that is open to all nationalities when the regular Summer National meet is (mostly) closed to foreign swimmers.  This year, French swimmers showed up in force and that was evident on day one, as Marie Wattel and Damien Joly picked up two of the six individual events victories.

Wattel won the third event of the night, the 100 free, by over a second, with a time of 54.27.  Wattel’s time was well over a second faster than her time from May’s French Nationals, where she placed 3rd and failed to qualify for the World Championship team.  And while the event wasn’t quite as deep as you’d see at a full-strength U.S. Nationals, winning by roughly a second over a field that included names like Amanda Kendall, Claire Adams, and Margo Geer is a pretty big deal.  Perhaps even more notably, for comparison’s sake, a 54.27 would’ve placed Wattel 5th at the U.S. World Championships trials and given her a fast enough time to put on pretty much any nation’s 4×100 free team

At the other end of the freestyle spectrum, Joly took the 1500 in 14:55.46.  That broke a meet record of 14:58.55 that Australia’s Glen Housman set way back in 1991, a year before he won the silver medal in the event in Barcelona.  Part of the reason that record had stood so long is because of the quirky nature of the U.S. Open, but it’s also a testament to just how fast Joly was tonight.  His time now sits 10th in the world for 2017, and it would’ve qualified him for the final in Budapest last week.

Other notes:

  • Ashley Twichell looked great in the pool two weeks after claiming gold in the women’s open water 5k at the world championships.  It’s tough to be an American female distance swimmer when Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith have such a stranglehold right now, and it’s totally understandable that Twichell is focusing on open water right now.  Still, at 28, Twichell continues to buck the (at least perceived) trend of distance swimming being the domain of younger swimmers, and it’ll be interesting to see how her 1500 time compares later on this week.
  • Logan Houck skipped World Championships Trials despite being a finalist in the 1500m at last year’s Olympic Trials.  His time tonight of 15:01.70 would’ve placed 3rd at last month’s Trials, just a few tenths behind 2nd place finisher Robert Finke.

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bobo gigi

Fortunately France is not yet on the banned list of your so-called “President”.
We can crush the competition on the US soil! 🙂
Congrats to Marie Wattel and Damien Joly. Hopefully that meet on the US east coast with less pressure is the new start of Marie’s career. A big boost of confidence for her. She’s still very young at 20.


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