Protest Filed, Denied in Men’s 10KM Final at Open Water Nationals

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.

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This does not seem particularly fair. Shouldn’t meet officials have considered the wind possibilities and put in place measures to ensure the stability of the buoys?


Hence the protest. But what can you do? Reswim the race? If his were pool and a lane line broke you have options.

Shame on race officials and race management.


agree, this really sucks for the swimmers, when something like this goes wrong and the swimmers put in sooo much work to get beat because of something not in their control.


Another debacle for US Open Water.

A swim fan

Gemmell deserves spot on that team. He messed up in missing 2012 London OW team and had to really fight and work to get that mile spot. He has not had the best of luck in OW recently. He will have to focus on pool swim if he does not make 5k on Sunday.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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