Wednesday, July 20. 2005
Men’s 10K Race
Written by Steve Munatones
“I was pretty shocked,” recalled Chip Peterson recalled of his first international gold medal. “Because this was my first international experience other than the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Honolulu.” But no one on the US team was surprised.
“Chip is the real deal,” stated Denny Ryther, manager of the 8-member National Open Water Team. The US team watched from the stands and thought that Chip was ready to take on his European and Australian ompetitors. “I am so proud of him, he trains so hard,” said his coach Catherine Vogt.
In the 5-km race, Thomas Lurz of Germany had drafted off of Chip for much of the second half of the race and had used his experience to beat Chip in the first open water race of the World Swimming Championships.
In the 10-km race, Chip did not give his competitors this opportunity.
Chip continued to keep pushing the pace throughout the 2.5-km loop, eventually separating himself by three body lengths from the lead pack with 1500 meters to go.
“I wasn’t planning to go that fast on the last (1.25-km) lap, but when I saw the French swimmer between me and everyone who I thought could stay with me, I decided to go fast. With the French guy between us, I could go and make all the other fast guys have to go around another swimmer and try to catch me.”
Try as Lurz, Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria, Gilles Rondy of France and the rest of the lead pack of 20 swimmers could, no one was catching Chip on this day.
“Chip had a great strategy. He kept on pressing the pace and kept on looking back to see if anyone could maintain his pace,” summed up Shelley Taylor-Smith, a 7-time world open water champion. “He had a great future in open water.”
Chip maintained his lead and cruised to a 7-second victory in the 10-km race, winning in 1:46:38.1. Lurz was second in 1:46:45.2 and Stoychev was third in 1:46:50.4.
John Kenny, a graduate of Cornell who will swim the 25-km race in two days, placed 17th with a time of 1:47:55.6.
Women’s 10K Race
Edith Van Dijk of the Netherlands is proving herself the premier open water swimmer of the XI FINA World Championships with her convincing victory in the women’s 10-km race.
Edith, who finished third in the 5-km race, pulled away over the last 200 meters in a very close race to win by 2 seconds over Federica Vitale of Italy. Edith completed the course in 1:56:00.5 and Federica was second in 1:56:02.5.
Erica Rose finished 9th, only 13 seconds out of first, while Sara McLarty finished 11th, 16 seconds behind Edith.
“The pace was really fast. I was very happy with my race and am excited about my next race at 25 kilometers (2 days from now),” Said Erica.
The Overall Team Race
In FINA open water racing, the first 12 swimmers receive points that are counted towards the overall team championship.
After the 5K and 10K races, the US team surprisingly finds itself in the team lead with 68 points, followed by Germany with 66 points, Italy with 61 points, Russia with 55 points, the Netherlands with 42 points, Spain with 23 points, and Australia with 20 points.
The final two days of open water competition will showcase the women’s 25-km race on Friday and the men’s 25-km race on Saturday where the 25K swimmers will do five loops of the 5-km course in the Olympic rowing basin.
Upcoming 25-km Races
In the 25-km race, unlike all previous world championships, there will be no escort boats for the swimmers. Instead, the swimmers will have to swim over to docks that line the 5-km loop course every 250 meters in order to receive drinks from their coaches.
The docks are positioned about 15 meters out of the optimal course, so the swimmers will have to make strategic decisions when they will feed. These feeding decisions may cause dramatic shifts in the swimmers’ positions during the 5+ hour race.
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