The first and second-place finishers in the men's and women's races at these Trials will advance to the Open Water World Championships, April 29-May 4, 2008 in Seville, Spain, which is a direct qualifying competition for the 2008 Olympic Games. The 10K open water race will debut as an Olympic event in Beijing.
The women's competition will take place Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. ET and is expected to feature Olympian Kalyn Keller (Phoenix, Ariz.) and two-time National Champion in the 10K, Chloe Sutton (Roseville, Calif.). The men's competition will take place Sunday, Oct. 21 at 9 a.m. ET and will feature three-time 10K National Champion, Chip Peterson (Chapel Hill, N.C.), 2007 Pan Ams gold medalist Fran Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) and reigning National Champion in the 25K, Mark Warkentin (Santa Barbara, Calif.).
Swimmers qualified for the October event by finishing among the top 15 Americans in the Olympic distance at either the 2007 Open Water National Championships in May or at the 2007 Open Water Grand Prix in Indianapolis, Ind., in August.
USA Swimming Open Water World Championship Trials Tidbits
- Feeding Frenzy: In no other sport does a coach have such a direct impact on an athlete's race. In open water, however, a coach's technique at the "feeding station," can determine whether his or her athlete has the stamina to finish the 6.2 mile swim. Usually placed on a floating dock, coaches provide valuable calories to their swimmers by extending a "feeding pole" into the water. With time and position on the line, the coach has only moments to get the fuel to the swimmer.
- Swimming Outside the Lines: With the addition of open water to the Olympic program in 2008, Team USA stands to gain up to four coveted Olympic Team roster spots. This hasn't been lost of the deep field of U.S. hopefuls. An Olympian in the pool distance events in 2004, Kalyn Keller has quickly established herself as a top prospect for the open water events in 2008. Keller finished ninth in the Olympic distance at the 2007 World Championships before making a last-minute decision to swim the longest event in competitive swimming - the open water 25K. Keller emerged with a silver medal, Team USA's only open water hardware. Said Keller, "It means a lot, and I think it's a big deal to get the first (open water) swimming medal. We hadn't medaled yet here, and coming around the last lap, that was definitely in my mind. I thought, 'I've got to do this for the U.S. We can't leave without a medal if we want to be a powerhouse in open water swimming, be it the 5K, 10K or 12 1/2.' That really motivated me."
- A Young Star for the USA: Chloe Sutton may only be 15 years old, but she's practically a veteran on the relatively new open water scene. The back-to-back U.S. national champion in the Olympic distance, Sutton traveled to her first World Championships last April. Despite a difficult race and a disappointing finish, Sutton rebounded to win gold in the 10K at the 2007 Pan American Games. The teenager recently switched clubs to train under renowned open water coach, Bill Rose.
- The Crippen Family Legacy: The little brother of 2000 U.S. Olympian Maddy Crippen, and older brother to up-and-coming National Team swimmer Teresa Crippen, Fran Crippen also recently made the transition from pool to open water swimming. A multiple medal-winner at the Pan American and Pan Pacific Games in the pool events, Crippen added to his medal collection with when he won gold in the Olympic distance at the 2007 Pan American Games in July and took second at the 2007 USA Swimming Open Water Nationals in May.
- A Who's Who in American Open Water: Along with the familiar names listed above, U.S. Open Water is quickly developing a field of favorites. Among them include Noa Sakamoto, John Flanagan, Erica Rose and Kirsten Groome. Sakamoto captured fourth place in the 10K at the 2007 Open Water National Championships, while teammate Flanagan captured bronze at the 10K Open Water Grand Prix. Rose is no rookie to open water swimming, with eight national titles and two Pan American gold medals to her name. A talented pool swimmer, Groome adjusted to a race without lane lines to take third at the 2007 Open Water Nationals.
About USA Swimming: As the National Governing Body for competitive swimming in the United States, USA Swimming formulates the rules, implements policies and procedures, conducts national championships, disseminates safety and sports medicine information and selects athletes to represent the United States in international competition. For more information, visit USA Swimming on-line.