2020 U.S. Open – Richmond Thursday PM Recap: McKenna and Parent Take the 800s

2020 U.S. Open Swimming Championships

The multi-site 2020 U.S. Open championships kick off tonight with the 800 freestyle events. Richmond, VA, is one of nine sites hosting this edition of the U.S. Open, and action got underway this evening with two heats of the women and a single heat for the men.

NCAP’s Paige McKenna touched first in the first heat of the 800 free with a time of 8:45.69. That’s about seven seconds off of her lifetime best of 8:38.37 from last summer’s Nationals. McKenna, a high school senior who’s committed to Wisconsin, trains under Bruce Gemmell at NCAP and is part of NCAP’s long legacy of distance swimmers.

UVA sophomore Maddie Donohoe was the only other woman under 8:50 in the first heat, clocking in with a 8:48.97 that’s about eight seconds away from her lifetime best.

Speaking of Gemmell, 15 year-old Erin Gemmell of NCAP knocked 8.19 off of her personal best, from almost exactly a year ago, to win the 2nd heat, and take 3rd overall, with her time of 8:50.55.

On the men’s side, it was a three-way race, but Bluefish 15 year-old Joshua Parent emerged victorious with a time of 8:13.67, setting a new personal best by 0.64s. Parent had gone 8:14 twice earlier this year, in January and March. Michigan commit Connor Hunt (RAC) and Georgia commit Zach Kohm (PWAC) came in 2nd and 3rd with times of 8:15.00 and 8:16.01, respectively.

Tomorrow will mark the first full day of racing, as we’ll see both morning and afternoon sessions divided into separate flights for the women and men.

Notable Time Trial Swims

  • Venezuelan national Alberto Mestre went 22.50 in the 50 free, just 0.12s off his lifetime best from the 2017 World Junior Championships, only 0.10s slower than he was at last summer’s Pan Am Games, where he finished 7th.
  • Badger Swim Club’s Matthew Fenlon, a Stanford commit, knocked 1.77s off of his lifetime best in the 200 free, registering a 1:50.81.
  • 16 year-old Landon Gentry of NCAP locked up an Olympic Trials cut with a 1:59.17 in the 200 fly, his first time under 2:02.

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10 months ago

Paige McKenna touched first with a time of 8:45.69, which is definitely seven seconds off her best of 8:45.69 from nationals