By Sharon Robb
FORT MYERS BEACH, April 3, 2022–University of Florida freshman Anna Auld of West Palm Beach was the top Florida Gold Coast finisher at the U.S. Open Water National and Junior Championships this past weekend at Lynn Hall Beach Park.
Despite rough weather conditions, Auld was among the Top 6 American 10K finishers qualifying for the current U.S. Open Water National Team, putting herself in position to qualify for the 2022 FINA World Championships U.S. roster.
Auld was seventh overall in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 50 seconds. With three swimmers from France among the top seven finishers, Auld qualified as fourth American.
Blair Stoneburg of Treasure Coast Aquatics just missed making the U.S. team by 1 minute and 7 seconds and one spot in 2:26:58. She was the seventh top American finisher.
South Florida Aquatic Club’s Isabelle Wilson was 19th in the 7.5K in 1:55:56. The only other FGC swimmer, Erin Miller of St. Andrew’s Aquatics was ninth in 1:49:29.
Teenager Katie Grimes of Sandpipers of Nevada and Axel Reymond of France won the 10K titles.
It was Grimes’ first senior-level open water national title. She stayed with the lead pack and finished more than a minute ahead of the field.
“I really had a good time out there today, the conditions were a little rough but I’m learning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Grimes said. “I was swimming with a ton of girls so I was really happy with the outcome and I’m excited for the next race.”
Conditions were not ideal with strong winds and choppy water.
Grimes was followed by Indiana University’s Mariah Denigan (2:17:50) and France’s Caroline Jouisse (2:18:34). The top six Americans were:
Grimes (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada), 2:16:40.
Mariah Denigan (Walton, Ky./Indiana University), 2:17:50.
Summer Smith (Agawam, Mass./Bluefish Swim Club), 2:21:07.
Anna Auld (West Palm Beach, Fla./University of Florida), 2:21:50.
Kensey McMahon (Jacksonville, Fla./University of Alabama), 2:22:00.
Brooke Travis (Newark, Del./NC State), 2:25:51.
France’s Axel Reymond (2:02:49) edged U.S. National Team member and University of Florida junior Brennan Gravley (2:02:53) for the top spot. Dylan Gravley, Brennan’s younger brother, finished third (2:03:13), a career-best 10K finish.
“It’s one of my favorite parts of being a USA Swimming athlete,” Brennan said when asked about qualifying for the U.S. Open Water National Team. “I feel like we have a lot of privileges, especially as open water swimmers. It was a fun venue and it was fun to come out here even with intense conditions.”
Added his brother, “I was trying to maintain my position and keep up with Brennan,” Dylan Gravley said. “I’m taking baby steps, it is another year and I was a few places upwards of where I was last year.”
The top-6 American male finishers were:
Brennan Gravley (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada/University of Florida), 2:02:53.
Dylan Gravley (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada/Arizona State University), 2:03:13.
Joey Tepper (Egg Harbor Township, N.J./University of Tennessee), 2:03:39.
Michael Brinegar (Columbus, Ind./Mission Viejo Nadadores/Indiana University), 2:05:44.
Simon Lamar (Sonora, Calif./Harvard University), 2:08:27.
David Heron (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo Nadadores), 2:10:20.
French swimmer Aurelie Muller won the senior 5K title ahead of Joiusse and U.S. pool Olympian Bella Sims of Sandpipers of Nevada, third and top American finisher.
Claire Weinstein of Sandpipers of Nevada won the girls 5K junior national title in 1:06:08.
Samuel Marsteiner of New Wave Swim Team won the boys 5K junior national title in 1:02:40.
The top two finishers qualified for the U.S. roster for the Sept. 1-4 FINA World Junior Open Water Championships Beau Vallon, Seychelles.
On Sunday, 16-year-old Ilya Kharun won the Junior National 7.5K race and led a 1-2 finish for the Sandpipers of Nevada Teammate Luke Ellis, 14, was second.
Please note, the full results have not been posted on usaswimming.org. South Florida Aquatic Club’s Isabelle Wilson, 14, competed in the girls 7.5K race and finished but her time has not been posted as of Sunday night.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com