Brune, Sullivan Win 5K Junior National Open Water Titles


After the National 10K events yesterday, where Jordan Wilimovsky and Ashley Twichell picked up decisive wins, the men’s and women’s Junior National 5K took place today in Castaic Lake, the first of it’s kind. The weekend will wrap up tomorrow with the men’s and women’s National 5K.

In order to be eligible to compete, the athletes had to be 16 and under on race day.

Today the men’s junior 5K went off first, with Noah Brune of Mission Viejo picking up a 15-second win in a time of 1:01:27.1. Brennan Gravely and Joseph Gutierrez had a tight battle for 2nd, with Gravely emerging in 1:01:42.6 to Gutierrez’s 1:01:43.7. They both swim for the Sandpipers of Nevada.

Brune commented on his race strategy, and the fact that he won this impressively after competing in the national 10K yesterday.

“It was a good race. I thought I swam it well and swam it smart. I started out nice and easy then towards the second half I started to pick it up and tried to hold the pace through the final lap. I had a rough 10K yesterday, so coming back today and swimming well makes me feel good.”

Thomas Bretzmann and Danny Berlitz, representing the North Carolina and Parkland Aquatic Clubs, came in for 4th and 5th 44 seconds behind 3rd place. After Berlitz, there was another minute-plus gap to 6th place Connor Daniels of the Davis Aquadarts.

On the women’s side it was Erica Sullivan, also from the Sandpipers of Nevada, who demolished the field in a time of 1:05:19.9 to win by over 45 seconds. Nicole Salladin of FAST took the runner-up spot in 1:06:05.2, and Mackenzie Arens of the Academy Bullets Swim Club was back in 3rd at 1:06:29.1.

Sullivan also commented on her race strategy, noting the decision to break from the pack came relatively early in the race.

“I just wanted to go in and scope out the field. I definitely tested the strengths of the other swimmers out there. At some point in the first lap I felt that I had enough energy to break away from the pack and start to do my own thing. I picked the right spot to swim away from everyone else.”

Nearly a minute back of Arens was Shayla Erickson of Irvine Novaquatics in 4th, and another Sandpiper, Reese Hazan, in 5th.

With 4 of the 6 open water races done for the weekend, we have to yet to see a full on sprint finish for 1st place. There is still hope for tomorrow’s National 5Ks, but after the displays of Wilimovsky and Twichell yesterday, it’s hard to imagine either of them not pulling away from the field over the final kilometer or so.

The men’s race goes off at 8 AM tomorrow (PT), and the women’s at 9:30.

Quotes courtesy of USA Swimming.

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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