The days are ticking closer to the June 13th start date for USA Swimming Open Water Nationals which return to Lake Castaic in Southern California. The field for the women’s races again is looking very strong and it will likely come down to a final nail biting sprint to determine the winners.
In this Q&A we check in with 2013 FINA World Cup Series Champion Emily Brunemann to find out what makes open water swimming special in her mind.
1. What differentiates an Open Water Nationals from pool nationals (aside from the fact that it’s open water)?
In my opinion, Open Water nationals is way more relaxed. Time does not matter it is pure racing, which makes it so exciting! I can relax and have fun however there is the obvious physicality which comes with open water.
2. Do you think there’s a different bond amongst open water swimmers?
I am very good friends with both my pool competitors and my open water competitors. However I feel like my open water competitors and myself are more of a family. When we travel for competitions most of them are out of the country and in my opinion international travel just makes the group closer!
3. Do you think open water swimming is changing? If so, in what ways?
I think open water swimming is gaining attention which is exciting. I think this year will be the most competitive we have ever had a nationals which can be nerve raking and exciting! I love the fact that Open Water swimming is becoming more popular.
4. What are some of the songs your pump up playlist?
I have a lot of songs that I listen to, however it is pretty much anything with a good beat that can get me excited and allow me to not think about the race.
5. Racing 5K, 10K and 25K is intense. How do you stay motivated between races?
I really like just taking one race at a time. It is a two hour race and I have done a lot of races. The other great aspect is every race is different, which is probably my favorite part. There is no predictability, that is was motivates me, I can go into a race and be excited because you have no idea what is going to happen or who is going to do what. The other thing that motivates me are my goals, I would not still be in this sport if I didn’t see every race as a stepping stone!
6. Do you every wish you were a sprinter?
Sometimes yes but then I think about how much pressure and anxiety comes with a 20 something second race, there is no room for a mistake and know that is def. not for me. I also love the fact that open water is one two hour session. I don’t even count the prep time because normally your on a beach somewhere, so hanging out at a beach doesn’t count haha. Even with being a sprinter or a pool swimmer in general the meets are three to five days of two four hour sessions… beach or pool (I choose beach)!
7. Who’s your favorite open water swimmer?
Fran (Crippen) was my mentor, he taught me everything about open water and drove a passion for the sport that was incredible and captivated everyone around him. He was the best at keeping everyone laughing at competitions and also instilling a will to win for the USA in all of us. What he did for the US in promoting the sport will carry on forever and he is responsible for the success and excitement this sport is getting.
8. What do you want people to know about open water swimming?
Open Water swimming to me is incredible it has opened doors I never thought possible. I have traveled the world with some of my best friends and there are not many people my age who can say they had to get more pages put in their passport! The races are intense and thrilling but I would not change my decision to focus on open water over pool. I am getting married in the fall and there are people from all over the world on the guest list that I would not have met if it had not been for this amazing sport!