U.S. Finalizes Open Water World Championship Team At World Cup In Italy

2023 World Aquatics Open Water World Cup – Meet 2

The United States open water roster for the 2023 World Championships has been finalized following the conclusion of the World Aquatics Open Water World Cup event in Golfo Aranci, Italy, over the weekend.

Katie Grimes punched her ticket to Fukuoka by winning the women’s 10km at Open Water Nationals last month, as did Brennan Gravley, who was the top American finisher in the men’s event, placing second to Spaniard Carlos Garach.

The remaining two spots would go to the top American finisher in the 10km at the second leg of the World Cup, with USA Swimming having sent 12 swimmers—the full national team—to the event.

Mariah Denigan and Joey Tepper were the two swimmers to earn a spot in Fukuoka, placing sixth and 10th in the women’s and men’s 10km, respectively.


The four swimmers will contest both the 5km and 10km events in Fukuoka, with the 25km event having been dropped from the schedule this year.


Germany’s Leonie Beck trailed early—she was in 58th place after the opening lap—but showed her open water prowess by making her way through the field to ultimately secure victory, winning her second straight World Cup race in a time of 1:56:17.4.

Italians Ginevra Taddeucci (1:56:18.6) and Giulia Gabbrielleschi (1:56:20.5), who led the way early, placed second and third, while Denigan wasn’t too far off the pace in sixth (1:56:31.2).

Women’s 10km – Top 10

  1. Leonie Beck (GER), 1:56:17.4
  2. Ginevra Taddeucci (ITA), 1:56:18.6
  3. Giulia Gabbrielleschi (ITA), 1:56:20.5
  4. Lea Boy (GER), 1:56:20.6
  5. Caroline Laure Jouisse (FRA), 1:56:26.5
  6. Mariah Denigan (USA), 1:56:31.2
  7. Aurelle Muller (FRA), 1:56:32.0
  8. Sharon van Rouwendaal (NED), 1:56:32.7
  9. Viviane Jungblut (BRA), 1:56:32.7
  10. Angela Martinez Guillen (ESP), 1:56:35.2

Ashley Twichell was the second American to finish, placing 11th in 1:56:35.4, while Kensey McMahon (1:57:05.1) and Grimes (1:57:18.6) also cracked the top 20.


Hungarian Kristof Rasovszky led the way in the men’s race, as the reigning Olympic silver medalist made a charge on the final lap and ultimately emerged victorious in a time of 1:47:17.6.

Italy’s Domenico Acerenza (1:47:20.1) and Germany’s Oliver Klemet (1:47:20.5) rounded out the top three in a quick race that saw 59 men go faster than the winning time from the opening leg of the World Cup in Egypt (1:52), due in part to water temperatures.

The current world champion in the men’s 1500 freestyle, Gregorio Paltrinieri, set the pace early but ultimately settled for sixth in 1:47:26.2.

The pack of Rasovszky, Acerenza, Klemet, Paltrinieri, Garach, Italian Marcello Guidi and Hungarian David Betlehem were well clear of the rest of the field, with Germany’s Rob Muffels placing eighth, nearly a minute and a half back of seventh.

Tepper touched third among the second group of athletes, taking 10th overall in 1:49:00.4 to secure his Worlds berth.

Men’s 10km – Top 10

  1. Kristof Rasovszky (HUN), 1:47:17.6
  2. Domenico Acerenza (ITA), 1:47:20.1
  3. Oliver Klemet (GER), 1:47:20.5
  4. Marcello Guidi (ITA), 1:47:22.1
  5. David Betlehem (HUN), 1:47:23.7
  6. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA), 1:47:26.2
  7. Carlos Garach (ESP), 1:47:30.2
  8. Rob Muffels (GER), 1:48:58.2
  9. Marc-Antoine Olivier (FRA), 1:48:59.5
  10. Joey Tepper (USA), 1:49:00.4

Dylan Gravley placed second amongst Americans in 1:49:06.2, good for 21st overall, while Luke Ellis (1:49:13.5) and Ivan Puskovitch (1:49:14.0) were 33rd and 35th, respectively.

The U.S. also fielded a team of Denigan, Dylan Gravley, McMahon and Tepper in the mixed 4×1500 relay, placing fourth in 1:06:17.1, with Germany (1:04:57.7) edging out Italy (1:04:58.6) for the victory.

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jimmie boy
10 months ago

Compared to European countries, the US has fallen very much behind in Open Water Swimming. Sure, Wellbrock, Paltrinieri, et al. train the Euro style of 100k meterage per week, a regimen that is by and large rare in the US (except for Sandpipers/TSM/a few others), but I think that until USA Swimming puts out a better incentive to get more pool swimmers in Open Water, the US will continue to fall behind.
Pool distance swimming does not always translate to open water success, yet the likes of Ledecky, Finke, and many of the top 8 swimmers in the mile at NC’s/Olympic Trails never give open water a legitimate shot. I don’t believe the swimmers here are to blame and… Read more »

Reply to  jimmie boy
10 months ago

Compared to European countries, the US has fallen very much behind in Open Water Swimming. – Full Stop

Reply to  TCC
10 months ago

While the European women have fallen behind in the W 1500 FR:

Ledecky, Katie
Grimes, Katie
Pallister, Lani

Gone are the days of the epic battle between Katie Ledecky and Lotte Friis.

Reply to  jimmie boy
10 months ago

Katie Ledecky stated on the last day of 2022 Phillips 66 National Championships that she hates open water swimming.

Georgia Rambler
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
10 months ago

Correct, she dislikes “dark water” as she put it and happily leaves it to those who enjoy it.

Sherry Smit
10 months ago

In my opinion, they shouldn’t have taken away the 25K. The 25K opened a lot of doors for athletes in the past, and allows open water swimmers with crazy endurance to compete in an event that is so grueling.

Reply to  Sherry Smit
10 months ago

Agreed, pool swimmers have a shot at 5k and 10k racing, but the 25k truly requires expert refeeding practice and another level of endurance physically and mentally that is no longer tested. The Brazilian Ana Marcela de Cunha especially with her streak has to be crushed, she can’t try for her 6th gold now

Last edited 10 months ago by Ragnar
Human Ambition
Reply to  Sherry Smit
10 months ago

Last word from the committee was that they dropped it for Fukuoka only. To be continued.

10 months ago

To think the women’s 10k times are all within 18 seconds is crazy.
The men’s being within 2 minutes is also a thin margin.
The elite swimmers are right next to each other the entire race.

Lap counter
10 months ago

Americans weren’t very competitive! Usually it comes down to last 200 but Americans men weren’t in the race!

Georgia Rambler
Reply to  Lap counter
10 months ago

I watched the race on You-Tube and Katie Grimes took it out very fast, was leading at one point during the first lap, probably too fast, but who knows. Understand it was the first time the US swimmers wore wet suits, the water was COLD – the announcer said 19C which is 66F and probably optimistic. Good swims by Mariah, Ashley and Katie G

Reply to  Georgia Rambler
10 months ago

Just another example of how usa swimming has failed our open water swimmers, especially our elite levels competitors. It’s embarrassing that a world swimming power like the U.S. can’t consistently put athletes in the top 10 of these races, Worlds and the Olympics and ITS NOT OUR ATHLETES FAULT. I will commend them on FINALLY funding a few of the international races for the National Team but there is a long way to go. They have to do more to give our elite open water athletes more experience at the international national level(like the wetsuit situation), push the World Cup to expand more to the Western Hemisphere and there needs to be more encouragement, training and education at the grassroots… Read more »

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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