As was reported earlier, there’s no way to truly know who will win this weekend at the USA Swimming open water nationals. One thing is for sure a lot of really strong women will be vying for the top spots in both the 10K and 5K races. Last year at the same venue all eyes were on reigning champion Ashley Twichell and Haley Anderson both of whom had disappointing 10K races and both sprung back to have outstanding years. Anderson taking gold in the 5K at worlds and Twichell lining up a string of wins beginning in Tiburon to the Midmar Mile in South Africa. So here’s a take regarding who may win on some of the swimmers on the start list.
Haley Anderson – Olympic silver medalist, World Champion – just a couple of what Anderson carries on her swimming resume. Anderson finished her stellar collegiate career at USC last year and has been devoting her time to training and maintaining her stature from the past two summers. Don’t let her smiling demeanor fool you – Haley races hard and is tough. She’s shown the crazy speed at the end of the race and that’s what it takes to come out on top.
Christine Jennings – Jennings has plenty of international chops too. She’s seasoned and has amazing endurance. Add in the fact that she lives and trains at altitude and you can see why she’s a true force to reckon with out in the water. She’ll likely hang in the mid pack and methodically charge forward as the race ensues. Again, living in Boulder Colorado is going to make giving a big burst at any point in the race much easier for her.
Ashley Twichell – Twichell dominated both the 5K and 10K at the 2012 nationals. She swam a way with the title in the 10K and came back two days later to take charge in the 5K. Admittedly she was disappointed with her swims last year at nationals but that isn’t holding her back. She’s rehabbed a pesky shoulder issue and has returned home to her collegiate stomping grounds in North Carolina to train with John Payne. Ashely has taken the lessons learned under Coach Bill Rose at Mission Viejo and is now honing in developing more race specific speed. She’s been a huge force this year with big wins in Australia and South Africa.
Becca Mann – it seems like time stands still when thinking of Mann she’s only 16 but it seems like she’s been around forever – she burst on the open water scene in 2011 grabbing a silver medal when she was only 13. Becca is smart and has an experience level of women far senior to her which is why she is a legit threat to take both titles – last year she took both silvers. She’s shown amazing diversity too and has a chance to make both open water and pool Pan Pac teams.
Emily Brunemann – somebody has to be first and Brunemann knows what it takes. She was the first American to win the FINA Open Water World Cup Series in 2013 after some stellar swims. Emily appears to be settling in nicely to her return to Ann Arbor after training in California before the 2012 Olympics. She’s been training hard and is also a member of the Michigan coaching staff and it sounds like the balance between work and training is invigorating. She’s fierce and very tactical and will be able to match up with anyone in the pack.
Eva Fabian – smart, determined and fearless with a dose of the Yale Bulldog bark, Fabian is a pro. Like Becca Mann, Eva has been a factor in the open water scene for a long time. She’s got big time experience (she was silver medalist at the 2010 Pan Pacs in the 10K and she was the bronze medalist last year in the 25K at the world championships). She won the national title in the 10K in 2011 in some crazy chop so she’s ready for anything. In 2013 she dominated most of the race in the 10K and she’s not afraid to take a leaders position.
Tristan Baxter – Tristan is always in the mix and can strike at any time. The 2010 Junior Pan Pac champion in the 10K has shown strong closing speed the past couple of year and is undoubtedly eager to jump to the top of the podium. T