By Sharon Robb
FORT MYERS BEACH, April 16, 2021—David Heron and Erica Sullivan won the USA Swimming Open Water National Championship 10K titles Friday.
In a thrilling men’s race, Heron, 26, of Mission Viejo Nadadores, who finished fourth in 2019, won in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 24 seconds just one second ahead of University of Florida’s Brennan Gravley, 20, who finished in 2:05:25. Heron took the lead going into the sixth and final lap and held on for the win.
Heron, a 2017 graduate of University of Tennessee where he was an All-American, is a two-time open water national champion in 2012 and 2017 and competed in two World Championships (2015, 2017).
Gravley is an open water specialist and trained year-round with Sandpipers of Nevada before signing with Florida. He was a member of the 2018-19 U.S. national team for open water earning a spot after finishing sixth in the 10K nationals in 1:48:21.
Sullivan, 20, of Sandpipers of Nevada won the women’s title in 2:02:43. Three-time defending champion Ashley Twichell, 31, of TAC Titans, who already has a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, was runner-up in 2:03:01 and Olympic teammate Haley Anderson, 29, of Mission Viejo was third in 2:05:21.
Sullivan, a 2017 junior national 5K champion and 2018 5K national champion, led from start to finish and dominated the women’s field of 17 swimmers over the Olympic-distance 10K.
Sandpipers of Nevada’s Katie Grimes, 15, finished fourth to take the 18-and-under national title in 2:05:25. Tennessee’s Joey Tepper was fourth in 2:06:29 to win the 18-and-under national title.
Florida Gold Coast was well-represented with Anna Auld, 17, of East Coast Aquatic Club finishing 12th in 2:16.30.
The waves and wind conditions picked up for the men’s race that began at the end of the women’s race.
The event is serving as a selection meet for the U.S. National team that offers perks and funding. The top 5 in the 10K earn 2021 National Team status through October. Athletes who have already been named (Haley Anderson, Ashley Twichell, Jordan Wilimovsky) to compete in the 10k at the 2021 Olympic Games secure a spot on both rosters automatically. They secured Olympic spots from their placings at the 2019 World Championships.
This meet is also serving as a selection event for the 2021 World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships, set for August 13-15 in Victoria, Seychelles. The two highest-placing finishers within the age bracket will qualify for the World Juniors 10K.
- Erica Sullivan, Sandpipers of Nevada 2:02:43, 2. Ashley Twichell, TAC Titans 2:03:01, 3. Haley Anderson, Mission Viejo Nadadores 2:05:21, 4. Kathryn Grimes, Sandpipers of Nevada 2:05:25, 5. Blair Stoneburg, Treasure Coast Aquatics 2:11:39, 6. Cadence Fort, Gulf Coast Swim Team 2:11:49, 7. Julissa Arzave, Tritons Aquatic Club 2:12:27, 8. Carlie Rose, Blue Dolfins 2:13:11, 9. Arabella Sims, Sandpipers of Nevada 2:13:14, 10. Mary McKenna, Long Island Express 2:15:25, 11. Paige Kuwata, Sandpipers of Nevada 2:15:45, 12. Anna Auld, East Coast Aquatic Club 2:16:40, 13. Sanna Peterson, Nova of Virginia 2:17:40, 14. Maggie Wallace, Indiana Swim Club 2:18:33, 15. Jacqueline Tinneny, University of Pittsburgh 2:20:57, 16. Mattea Sokolow, Team Santa Monica 2:25:53, 17. Abby Licht, University of Pittsburgh 2:31:51.
- David Heron, Mission Viejo Nadadores 2:05:24, 2. Brennan Gravely, Unattached UFlorida 2:05:24, 3. Theodore Smith, University of Louisville 2:06:25, 4. Joseph Tepper, Unattached 2:06:29, 5. Dylan Gravely, Sandpipers of Nevada 2:07:33, 6. William Roberts, Unattached 2:09:05, 7. Joshua Brown, Highlander Aquatic Club 2:11:41, 8. Simon Lamar, Fast Swim Team 2:11:54, 9. Ivan Puskovitxh, USA Aquatics 2:12:02, 10. Kieran Smith, Unattached UFlorida 2:12:32, 11. Brice Barrieault, Sandpipers of Nevada 2:12:32, 12. David Forsythe, Alamo Area Aquatics 2:12:40, 13. Brandon Miller, North Carolina Aquatic Club 2:16.46, 14. William Mullen, Unattached NCAP 2:17:10, 15. Noah Smith, Gulf Coast Swim Team 2:19:23, 16. Charles Clark, Unattached 2:21:18, 17. James Miller, Fast Swim Team 2:22:17, 18. Dylan Becker, Unattached 2:24:54, 19. Ryan Schonbachler, University of Pittsburgh 2:28:47, 20. Jibran Himsieh, Mars Swimming 2:31:19, 21. Max Oberg, Magnolia Aquatic Club 2:33:00.
OPEN WATER RACE SCHEDULE
SATURDAY: 5K Junior National Championships (16-U Age Group), men’s 8 a.m., women’s 8:05 a.m.
SUNDAY: 5K National Championships (Open), men’s 7:30 a.m., women’s race 7:35 a.m.; 7.5K Junior National Championships (17-18 Age Group), men’s 11 a.m., women 11:05 a.m.
USA Swimming is live streaming and re-playing all events on its website.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org