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.
Written by Steve Munatones
On Tuesday, July 19th, the 10K completed their final warm-up swims and preparations for tomorrow's 10K race.
Now that the 5K race is over, it seems everyone has their eyes on the surprising American team, which no one had predicted such success.
Chip still feels a bit sore and tired from his great 5K race, but Sara put in another training day on the bicycle in between the 5K and 10K race days. "She's incredible. I could not do what she is doing!" remarked Chip.
Both Margy and Scott are finished with their 5K swims and are now back in the pool training for the national championships where they will both swim the distance free events.
Tomorrow will be the first swim of the championships for both Erica Rose and John Kenny, the most-experience veterans of the team. "I'm pretty excited about tomorrow's race," said John.
The four 10K swimmers have informed the coaching staff on where, how and what kind of feedings they want during the 10K races...but this information is confidential because we do not know which one of our competitors is monitoring this website!
Sunday, July 17. 2005
Written by Steve Munatones
It rained for the first time since the US Open Water National Team got together on July 10th, but the rain didn’t damper the spirit or fight among the 5K swimmers.
Margy Keefe, a junior-to-be from Penn State and Sara McLarty, a graduate of University of Florida, led the US contingent against a strong international field of 28 open water swimmers.
The 5K race was held in the 1976 Olympic rowing basin where the water temperature was about 78° and water conditions were as flat as possible. The need to navigate the course was largely eliminated because a visible set of buoys and underwater cables ran the length of the course. This open water course produced a very fast, very tactical race where one’s position relative to the pack of swimmers and positioning around the turn buoys proved to be critical.
The swimmers started near a dock, swam around 1250 meters down one side of the rowing basin, around a set of four turn buoys in a half-moon shape, swam 1250 meters down the other side of the basin, and finally around another set of four turn buoys in a half-moon shape. The swimmers did four laps of this course and then headed towards the finish touch pads that placed on a floating pontoon.
From the start, the Australian and Germans swimmers sprinted to the head of the pack with both Margy and Sara in the middle of the large lead group. The Americans occasionally swam together, being sandwiched between a host of swimmers. At the first turn, the lead Australian made a poor turn, leading the lead five swimmers astray. By the time, the first group recovered, Margy and Sara were near the
“I did not enjoy the first half of the race,” said Margy who was constantly being battered about by her competitors and finished with a slight cut below her eye where another swimmer kicked her around the first buoy. “It was rough out there,” added Sara.
Throughout the second lap, Margy and Sara stayed towards the front constantly pushing the pace. Both swimmers were ideally positioned around the turn buoys that ended the first half of the race.
“I did not want to get in the middle of a pack, so I went ahead,” remarked Margy who took control of the race on the third lap. Margy opened up a good body length lead throughout the third lap with Sara fluctuating between second and third. “When Margy went by me and picked up the pace, I knew she was turning the race into her own race,” recalled Sara who is a current member of the US National Triathlon Team.
The top Russian swimmer, Larisa Ilchenko, tucked in behind Margy from the 2.5-km mark to the 4-km mark, drafting as best she could as the defending world 5K champion.
At the 4.5-km mark, Larisa pulled even with Margy and then pulled slightly ahead. Margy chased her, but they maintained their positions around the final turn buoys with Larisa finishing in 55:40.1 and Margy winning the silver medal in 55:44.3 to the delight of her teammates, college coach, parents and brother who were in
Just about at the same 4.5-km mark, Sara was passed by multiple world champion, Edith Van Dijk of the Netherlands. Sara attempted to hang onto her position, but when Edith and Margy passed the last two buoys, one buoy swung right into Sara and impended her final sprint. Sara finished in fourth behind Edith, just a few
seconds out of bronze which is what she won at the 2004 World Open Water Swimming Championships in the same event.
With two of the top four 5K female swimmers in the first event of the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships, the US showed that it is once again on the verge of becoming the world’s best open water swimming nation. Head coach Rick Walker of Southern Illinois University stated, “I am very happy with everyone. We had a great training camp in Lake Placid just prior to this event. The result today was possible because we were allowed to prepare with great athletes and under the best possible training conditions. Our hosts at Lake Placid were great and the support we received enabled our athletes to compete with the world’s best open water swimmers.”
With the first race over, the pressure to continue the US success was in the hands of Chip Peterson of North Carolina and Scott Kaufman of the University of Florida. 33 men were at the starting line and took off fast at the start with the Germans, Italians and Australians in the lead for the first kilometer.
Chip was back in the pack around 8th and Scott somewhere between 9th and 12th. By the first turn buoys at the 1250-meter mark, Chip had fought his way to a tie in the front. “He wants to get out in front,” said his coach Catherine Vogt, “and avoid the crush around the buoys.”
Scott, however, was right in the middle of the lead pack and was surrounded by elbows and legs, trying to find some clear water.
From the first set of turn buoys to the 2.5-km halfway point, Chip and Ky Hurst of Australia traded the lead position. As the lead pack started the second half of the race, Chip had forged into the lead, but only a few feet in front of 24 hard-charging competitors.
Everyone picked up the pace during the third lap of the race, closing in on Chip. “I was in a pack of swimmers, six wide, and I was in the middle. The pack was tight and I was getting pounded on my right and left, with someone riding on my feet. So, I decided to take off.”
Everyone held their position as Chip sprinted off. Scott alternatively picked up a few positions and then lost a few positions when other competitors made their own surges.
Chip opened up a body-length lead around the third set of buoys at the 3.75-km mark. After the buoys, it became a clear race between Thomas Lurz of Germany, Chip and Simone Ercoli of Italy. The top three swimmers had broken away from the main pack.
“I was trying to keep the pace, but then the German surged and was swimming really fast,” recalled Chip.
At nearly the same point and using the same tactic as the Russian swimmer versus Margy in the women’s race, Lurz, a veteran of the World Cup open water races, passed Chip with about 500 meters to go.
Lurz swung a bit wide and a bit off-course, forcing a major decision by Chip: should he follow the top German swimmer and draft, or should he continue along the same straight line?
Chip, who had pulled Lurz a good 1.5 kilometers at a strong pace until this point, decided to keep his line to the last set of turn buoys. The Italian swimmer was charging fast, but Chip had enough left in his tank to make a final surge on Lurz.
“I kept the same path towards the last buoys, but then Lurz made a sharp turn. Then, he tried to get a good lead, but he slowed down and I was able to catch up.”
Around the final buoys, Lurz swam wide again, opening up an opportunity for his young American competitor and the Italian veteran. “Simone took off, but he also went wide. I could see him. I was trying to keep the straightest line to the touch pads, but I also had to maintain my speed.”
With 50 meters to go, Lurz made a bee-line to the finish and won the gold in 51:17.2. Chip finished in second in 51:18.8, just out-touching the Italian in 51:19.9.
“This is great,” said Chip’s proud coach, “I am so happy for him. This is exciting!” Scott finished in 19th only 35 seconds behind Chip’s silver-medal time.
The overall standing in the open water races are compiled by taking the top 3 times of the four men’s and women’s team members. Only 6-tenths of a second separated the Russians from the Americans with the Italians third and the Germans fourth.
1st: Russian Team Time: 2:39:13.8
2nd: USA Team Time: 2:39.14.4
3rd: Italian Team Time: 2:39.17.5
4th: German Team Time: 2:39.18.5
Saturday, July 16. 2005
Friday, July 15th, 2005
Written by Steve Munatones
With only one day before Opening Ceremonies and two days before the world championship 5K race, the team swam in the morning in the rowing course and in the pool in the afternoon.
After training solely in the 2-kilometer course in Lake Placid and in the 2.5-kilometer course in the Olympic rowing basin, the team was surprised how small a 50-meter pool looked it. In fact, most of the team was convinced that the 50-meter pool was too short…by between 10-25 meters.
Comments such as, “No way, this is a 50-meter pool!” to “I want some official to tell me this is 50 meters…this is NOT 50 meters!”… “Why is the pool so short?” … “Ask someone how many meters this pool is.” This is the “open water training phenomenon” where a swimmer’s perspective on distances is changed after doing hard
open water training. Needless to say, the entire team had a great pool workout after head coach Rick Walker dove in and confirmed the pool was, in fact, 50 meters.
The big issue now among the team is waiting for the official decision on the open water race course. Other countries have filed various complaints ranging from the location of the buoys relative to the finish line to the temperature of the water (76-78 degrees). However, the American team remains confident in their training and
is prepared to swim well no matter what the conditions or what race course decisions will be made by the FINA officials during tomorrow’s 5K pre-race meeting.
The weather remains very warm and sunny as hundreds of teams from around the world gather in Montreal for tomorrow’s opening ceremonies which will star Montreal’s world-famous Cirque du Soleil. The US team’s hotel includes the American divers and synchronized swimmers as well as teams from Bulgaria, Malaysia, Ecuador and various other countries. The US pool swimmers will arrive in the same hotel on July 21st while the American men’s and women’s water polo team are staying at a different hotel.
Friday, July 15. 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Written by Steve Munatones
All athletes (Sean Seaver of Washington, Scott Kaufmann of Gainseville, Margy Keefe of Penn State, John Kenny of Atlantic City, Sara McLarty, member of the USA Triathlon National Select Team and resident of Colorado Springs, Chip Peterson of Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina, and Erica Rose of Cleveland Heights, Ohio) arrived in the late afternoon and took 2 vans to the US Olympic Training Center of Lake Placid. The team got into the Training Center late and quickly went to their rooms and slept off the long day of travel.
Monday, July 11, 2005
The coaching staff (Rick Walker of Southern Illinois University, Denny Ryther of San Antonio, Steven Munatones of Huntington Beach, California, Jeremy Vail of Nashville, Catherine Vogt of Emerald Isle, North Carolina and Dr. Jim Miller of Virginia) led the team to their first morning practice in a specially designed 2-kilometer open water course in Lake Mirror.
The water temperature was in the mid-70s and was perfectly calm. The 2-kilometer course was laid out by 2 lane courses used by rowing teams. The swimmers swam between 4-8 kilometers and included speed work, pulling and working their turns around buoys.
Buoy work included swimming hard in a pack of swimmers around a large orange turn buoy. The buoy work was 5 sets of 200-meter swims around the buoy.
The coaches constantly monitored the swim course and provided drinks to the swimmers from a small boat provided by the USA Olympic Training Center.
The athletes greatly enjoyed the buffet-style meals provided at the Training Center cafeteria and soon became a cohesive unit.
The weather was hot and sunny with a forest of emerald green providing a beautiful setting for a 3-day training camp.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
The weather continued to be beautiful.
The team continued its training in Lake Mirror. In the morning, the athletes worked on making aggressive turns around buoys and finishing fast.
In international open water competitions, the electronic touch pads are placed about 1 foot about the surface of the water and the athletes must touch the pads with at least one hand to officially finish their race.
Before afternoon workout, some of the athletes went to see the Olympic Center's ski jump and went shopping in the beautiful small town of Lake Placid.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The team worked on eating chocolate gel packs in the water. The swimmers placed gel packs in their suits and then would take them out and squirt the gel packs in their mouths while switching over to their back. The athletes continued to practice until they were able to do this motion under 3 seconds.
In the afternoon, the athletes continued to practice swimming in a pack, work on swimming around buoys and sprinting in a pack.
As a team-building exercise, the team went to Pirates Cove and played a competitive game of miniature golf. John Kenny had the lowest score, but Margy had 3 holes-in-one.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Sean, John and Margy went for a morning swim before the entire team departed from the USA Olympic Training Center to Montreal. After a 3-hour bus ride, the team finally arrived in the Delta Montreal Hotel and visited the rowing basin where the World Championship events are to be held.