Italian Men Sweep Men’s 5k Top Three, Twichell Takes Women’s 5k Title


The final day of the 2019 US Open Water National Championships featured the men’s and women’s 5k races. The Italian trio of Gregorio Paltrinieri, Domenico Acerenza, and Mario Sanzullo stole the top 3 of the men’s 5k. On the women’s side, Ashley Twichell stopped Brazilian Ana Cunha from a 2-for-2 performance and became the lone American champion of the senior races this weekend.

Men’s 5k

Defending Olympic champion Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri won his second title of the weekend with his winning 5k time of 53:42.32. Fellow countryman Domenico Acerenza narrowly missed touching out Paltrinieri, but finished in silver medal position with a 53:42.78. Sealing an Italian 1-2-3 finish was Mario Sanzullo, clocking in a minute later at 54:33.19.

After failing to finish the 10k on Friday, American record-holder Zane Grothe finished as the fastest American with his fourth place time of 54:34.71. However, according to the USA Swimming release, Grothe will not be swimming the 5k race at the upcoming World Championships this summer. Grothe has decided to drop open water to focus on his events in the pool. The Auburn postgrad is scheduled to swim the 400 free, 800 free, and 1500 free in Gwangju this July.

Grothe summed up his thoughts over the past weekend in his recent Instagram post.

Finishing in 5th and 6th place respectively and earning Worlds spots were Americans Brennan Gravley (54:36.22) and James Brinegar (54:55.62).

Top 10 Finishers- Men’s 5k

  1. Gregorio Paltrinieri (Italy)- 53:42.32
  2. Domenico Acerenza (Italy)- 53:42.78
  3. Mario Sanzullo (Italy)- 54:33.19
  4. Zane Grothe (Boulder City Henderson Swim Team)- 54:34.71
  5. Brennan Gravley (Sandpipers Of Nevada)- 54:36.22
  6. James Brinegar (Indiana University)- 54:55.62
  7. David Heron (Mission Viejo Nadadores)- 54:55.67
  8. Ivan Puskovitch (Episcopal Academy Aquatic Club)- 55:04.65
  9. Nico Hernandez-Tome (Tome University Of Alabama Swim Club)- 55:22.70
  10. Samuel Rice (University Of Tennessee)- 55:23.70

Women’s 5k

Friday’s 10k champion Brazilian Ana Cunha and American Ashley Twichell had a sprint battle to the finish that separated the duo by three one-hundredths. In the end, Twichell (58:25.97) became the lone American to win a senior title this weekend as she stopped Cunha (58:26.00) from a second title.

Joining Twichell on the Worlds roster was third-place finisher Hannah Moore of Wolfpack Elite (58:27.15). Finishing behind fourth-place swimmer Haley Anderson (58:27.47) was last year’s 5k champion, 18-year-old Erica Sullivan (58:34.50).

The other two women under the hour-mark were Becca Mann (58:35.09) and 15-year-old Mariah Denigan (59:26.01).

Top 10 Finishers- Women’s 5k

  1. Ashley Twichell (Tac Titans)- 58:25.97
  2. Ana Cunha (Brazil)- 58:26.00
  3. Hannah Moore (Wolfpack Elite)- 58:27.15
  4. Haley Anderson (Trojan Swim Club)- 58:27.47
  5. Erica Sullivan (Sandpipers Of Nevada)- 58:34.50
  6. Becca Mann (Unattached Sun)- 58:35.09
  7. Mariah Denigan (Northern KY Clippers Swimming)- 59:26.01
  8. Kensey McMahon (University Of Alabama Swim Club)- 1:00:17.35
  9. Kathryn Campbell (Team Santa Monica)- 1:00:18.19
  10. Julissa Arzave (South Bay Aquatics)- 1:00:56.43

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5 years ago

What’s changed in training that’s resulted in Euro (and some Asian) men outperforming US men in distance swimming, seemingly consistently in most completions?

Reply to  PowerPlay
5 years ago

Not sure about OW (which seems to suit older swimmers more), but in the pool I have a (completely unsubstantiated theory) that the NCAA system hurts distance, whilst it helps everything else.

Distance swimmers peak earlier on average, so right around when many are hitting their peak, they suddenly change coach and move halfway across the country, often leading to a down year at a crucial time. Also, when they get to college, their coach will often have a truly elite swimmer focus a bit more on speed for the all important relays, rather than putting big grinds to develop a great 1500m. If a college coach got hold of an 18 year old Sun, Hackett or Paltrinieri, they’re… Read more »

13 % Chinese person
Reply to  Togger
5 years ago

At 17 both Sun & Hackett were top 200 mtr swimmers . Hackett was part of the gold medal team 1997 worlds Short Course . At 18 he broke Giorgio Lambertis long standing world rec. .. ncaa 4×200 would be a piece of cake .

5 years ago

Luckily there were only three Italian OW swimmers..
And for Acerenza was the first OW race, Sanzullo is in the midst of training toward Italian trials and there are at least other 3-4 other Italians in the hunt for Worlds spots.

2 Cents
Reply to  nuotofan
5 years ago

Just like luckily they have only allowed 2 US backstrokers in each event the last 31 Olympics….

Reply to  2 Cents
5 years ago

True for male and female

Samuel Huntington
5 years ago

Geez, sad showing from US men.

Reply to  Samuel Huntington
5 years ago

Who cares, we have Caeleb Dressel.

Aussie crawl
Reply to  Markster
5 years ago

And the Aussies have King Kyle

Reply to  Markster
5 years ago

Don’t think Dressel’s going to win the 10k…

Prison MIke
Reply to  Togger
5 years ago


Reply to  Samuel Huntington
5 years ago

Swimswam commenters: US coaches do too much garbage yardage. USRPT is the way!

Also swimswam commenters: Not enough distance.

Reply to  RenéDescartes
5 years ago

contradictory opinions is all over the world even in the swimming commentating section . LOL

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick has had the passion for swimming since his first dive in the water in middle school, immediately falling for breaststroke. Nick had expanded to IM events in his late teens, helping foster a short, but memorable NCAA Div III swim experience at Calvin University. While working on his B.A. …

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