Update: At 4:24 Eastern, 1:24 Pacific (Race time), the protest has been denied. The results will be finalized with Meyer winning, Ryan 2nd, and Gemmell 3rd.
A quick update from the Men’s 10KM Open Water Nationals, as shortly after results were announced, a protest was filed over the lost buoy on the course (read more here), meaning that the results are still unofficial.
The protest was filed by Andrew Gemmell’s coach, who is his dad Bruce Gemmell of the Nation’s Capital Swim Club (NCAP).
The Canyons Aquatic Club, the official hosts of the meet, informed us that an anchor for the 2nd turn buoy fell off of a ledge in the lake, therefore leaving that anchor without a buoy. Officials tried to react and have a boat on the course to adjust the buoy before any competitors returned to it, but when that was not able to be completed, the boat was rushed off and the decision was made to bypass the turn altogether. A lifeguard was then assigned to direct competitors on the slightly altered course from the first to the third buoys, and officials on the media boat that was chasing the lead group aided in communicating to that lead group of three swimmers: Sean Ryan, Andrew Gemmell, and Alex Meyers.
Those three at one point came to a complete standstill as they turned to the boat for instructions, but eventually continued on in effectively the same order and spacing with which they came into the turn. Keep in mind, though, that the top 6 finishers were also battling for spots on the Open Water National team, so while that top three maybe went largely unaffected, there were other implications (Junior Open Water National Team as well.)
Gemmell, after the second time the swimmers went around the now one-buoy end of the course, took a significantly different line than Ryan and Meyer did, and that seemed to put him out of the race. We’ll seek an answer as to whether the buoy change was what affected him, or if he was intentionally taking a different line.
Meyer would eventually finish first, followed by Ryan in 2nd as the two will head to the World Championships. Gemmell was 3rd.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.