Taking one for the team – USA looking strong for 5K open water pursuit event

Tomorrow features an interesting open water swimming race at the FINA world championships, one that not many are familiar with, the 5K team event. In this event each country has three swimmers, a mix from each gender, that work together to bring about the fastest time of the 3rd swimmer of the group. Tomorrow team USA will be represented by Sean Ryan, Andrew Gemmell and Haley Anderson. Haley will serve as the team anchor with Sean and Andrew doing the drafting to pull her through to the finish. Teams take off individually and are ranked based upon the finish of the final swimmer. Envision Gemmell in the lead with Ryan serving as the synapse to set just the right pace for Anderson. Gemmell and Ryan were part of the gold medal winning team at the 2011 world championship team that pulled Ashley Twichell across the finish line.

This is going to be a very exciting race as each team works to establish their own strategies to take the gold.  Keep an eye on the Hungarians who are breaking with the usual gender configuration of two men and one woman.  They’ve got Olympic Gold medalist Eva Risztov who will likely anchor that team. Of course, the Brazilians will have the the reigning 10K gold medalist Poliana Okimoto in the saddle so it will be important to have then on the radar.

Regardless of the outcome, this is a great event and showcases the teamwork and excitement of open water swimming.

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I would take my bets on Brazil on this one.. Poliana is very slender (probably the fittest and less muscular of all Open water swimmers) and with 2 guys easying for her (de Bona and Do Carmo) Brazil will probably be a big favorite for this race..


I think this event is akin to the relays when it comes to emotions: it’s all about team work, strategies, OW knowledge and the works.

AND, it mixes genders: this, in itself, makes it a very interesting race.

It’s going to be the best OW race to watch!

The Indian-line the Americans used last time worked well for them. Let’s see what other patterns/strategies will emerge.

I think Brazil has a very good chance at Gold with Poliana.

But Germany and Greece will have two very strong legs.

And I think Rizstov is not going to anchor. Rather, I think they might do a V pull formation, where each swimmer will take turns in front….

Naya Missy

Why is the Team 5K always 2 men and 1 woman?

Mostly the guys go front to make it easier for the woman to draft.. the team must end at the same time..

About Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis is a freelance commercial, sport and lifestyle photographer based in San Diego.  Mike began making photos in the early 80’s and immersed himself in all aspects of the photographic arts.  Mike’s professional career in in photography began after 12 years working within the United States Olympic movement; he …

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