A full report from our lead open water expert Mike Lewis will come later this afternoon. Lewis had announcing duties for USA Swimming at the meet, so we’ve started with a
Note: as of 4:05 Eastern, 1:05 Local Time, results are UNOFFICIAL. The Results have been protested on the basis of the buoy movement. We will update when the protest is overturned or not. Read more about the protest here: http://swimswam.com/protest-filed-in-mens-10km-final-at-open-water-nationals/
Update: 4:25 Eastern, 1:25 Local Time, the protest has been denied, and the final finish order will remain Alex Meyer, Seaen Ryan, and Andrew Gemmell from first to third.
The men’s open water 10km National Championship race didn’t have the same huge pack of 7-8 swimmers coming into the finish as the women’s race did, but as the wind picked up when the day got later, things still got very interesting.
Eventually, it was Alex Meyer and Sean Ryan who will represent the Americans at the World Championships in Barcelona. That finish gives Ryan probably poll position on the 5km race, where he was so good at Nationals in 2011.
Sometime during the race’s 4th lap, the 2nd turn buoy had drifted away when the anchor on the buoy went off a ledge into a deeper part of the lake , and officials made the decision to pull it from the course, thus eliminating the turn.
By then, a three-man lead pack of Sean Ryan, Andrew Gemmell, and Alex Meyer had pulled a good 30 meters or so ahead of the rest of the field, but momentum was momentarily halted as shouts from lifeguards and officials on the media boat tried to redirect them toward the third buoy.
Ultimately, it was perhaps a bit fortunate by then that the three had separated from the pack, at least in terms of keeping the true top participants on path toward the World Championships, as the three came to a total stop. Because it was a smaller group, though, there was not much of an advantage gained by anyone, and they marched on toward the rest of the race.
This was sort of the story of the meet, as swimmers were all over the course – at one point earlier in the competition, Ryan took a big lead away from Gemmell after Gemmell got pointed in the right direction. At least one swimmer was disqualified after missing an errant buoy (he was given the option of withdrawal, or retracing his steps a long way back, and chose the former.)
That lead pack was a veteran group, however. Meyer was the American representative in open water at the 2012 Olympics, Gemmell was a part of Team USA in the 1500 in the pool in London and the defending 10km open water champion, and Ryan went to Worlds in 2011.
Coming into the last 400 meters, Meyer made a move on Gemmell for 2nd place, and Gemmell went off on his own line. Eventually, that line would seem to be his dooming, as the last 25 meters was a two man race between Ryan and Meyer. Meyer made the first move, and by the time Ryan reacted, it was all over. Meyer was the champion after Ryan lead the majority of the race, but both will go to Barcelona.