YEOSU, South Korea (USA SWIMMING) – The first two swimmers qualified for spots on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team on Sunday, as Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif./Trojan Swim Club) won silver and Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./TAC Titans) touched sixth in the women’s 10-kilometer open water event at the 2019 FINA World Championships at the Yeosu Expo Ocean Park in Yeosu, South Korea. The top-10 finishers qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, marking the first time two American women have qualified for the 10k race at the Olympic Games.
Tokyo 2020 will mark Anderson’s third Olympic appearance, while Twichell will be making her Olympic debut. Only the U.S. and Germany successfully nabbed two Olympic births per country on Sunday.
Women’s 10K FINA World Championships results:
- Xin Xin (China), 1:54:47.2
- Haley Anderson (Granite Bay, Calif./Trojan Swim Club), 1:54:48.1
- Rachelle Bruni (Italy), 1:54:49.9
- Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./TAC Titans), 1:54.50.5
Since the introduction of the 10k race in Beijing in 2008, the U.S. has qualified an athlete for the women’s race in three of the last four cycles. The only other athletes to three-peat like Anderson are Brazilian Poliana Okimoto (2008, 2012, 2016), Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain (2008, 2012, 2016) and the Czech Republic’s Jana Pechanova (2008, 2012, 2016).
Anderson’s silver medal is the first FINA World Championships women’s 10k medal for the U.S., and her third overall. She has previously won the 5k twice. Her second-place finish is an improvement of seven spots over her 2015 Olympic Team qualifying swim.
Anderson on going to her third consecutive Olympic Games: “I’m so excited. I can’t believe it, not just making my third Olympics, but finally medaling in the 10K at Worlds is really exciting. I’m just so stoked for next year.”
Anderson on her strategy and her race: “It was pretty stressful. It was pretty brutal and a little cutthroat out there because everyone is trying to make the Olympics so everyone was getting a bit feisty. I was just trying to stay calm the whole time, position myself and be calm and confident. Those were the two words I just kept repeating in my head the whole time.
“I wanted to medal. There are times in every 10K where you really doubt yourself and you really doubt what you can do. But I just stayed calm even if I made mistakes and I got pushed back. Everyone was fighting for the top 10. I wanted to fight for the top 3.”
Twichell on becoming a first-time Olympian: “It feels really good. Definitely feels a little surreal. The first 5K went by really fast for me, then the actual race got really fast at 5K so I just tried to stay focused on the moment. Wanted to stay relaxed for as long as I could and in that final moment, give it everything I had.”
On her position in the pack: “I felt really good in the beginning. In 2017 Worlds, I kind of felt like I was sprinting from the get-go. I tried to stay as relaxed as possible for as long as possible and I definitely feel like I did that for the first half of the race. Like I said, then it got really fast and I fell back a few times, especially after feeds and turns and tried to work myself back up but comfortably, and then that last push was hard. I could tell there were more than 10 of us in the pack, but I couldn’t tell how many. Just tried to stay strong and comfortable, especially in those last 300 meters.”
For the complete women’s results, visit: http://www.omegatiming.com/2019/18th-fina-world-championships-ow-live-results.
The men’s 10K will take place Tuesday, and Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Team Santa Monica), and David Heron (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo Nadadores) will have their chance to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games. Complete championships information is available online at www.fina-gwangju2019.com/.
Twichell returns to competition on Wednesday, July 17, along with Hannah Moore (Cary, N.C./ Wolfpack Elite), in the 5k.
The pool competition begins July 21 at the Nambu International Aquatics Centre in Gwangju, South Korea.