Sunday, August 31, 2008

Age is No Obstacle - USMS 25K Open Water Championships

Due to the excitement of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, we neglected to report on the Inaugural USMS 25k Open Water Championships, a new summer classic organized by US Masters Swimming.

Sponsored by TYR, 45 swimmers from 20 states started the 15.5-mile course in Morse Reservoir, Noblesville, Indiana. Compared to USA Swimming national 25K championship events, this was an extraordinarily impressive turnout with nationwide participation.

The feedback, from the athletes was outstanding.

"...I have just returned from the Inaugural 25K Open Water Nationals held at the Morse Reservoir outside of Indianapolis this past Saturday. It was an absolutely superbly organized and unforgettable event. The race director, Dick Sidner, went to extremes to make sure that every detail of the experience was just perfect, and he was ably assisted by members of his family, English Channel swimmer and author Marcia Cleveland, and others. The event was held on a well protected part of a very scenic reservoir/lake. Every swimmer who did not come with a kayaker, was provided with one (or more)."

"The 5 x 5K loop was measured with the finest of precision. When a fellow swimmer and I arrived a couple of days early, Dick invited us to his home and took us for a tour of the course in his pontoon boat. For the entire four days we were in town, Dick, his wife Lisa, his mother-in-law, and the other organizers treated us like family. The race was very safe. The field was incredibly strong. The kayakers did a great job. When I finished the race I hugged Marcia Cleveland, I hugged my kayaker Chris who provided me with so much encouragement, and I wanted to hug everyone else who made this event so memorable - thanks to all of you," wrote Jon Lenchner (shown on left).

The overall female winners were Kristina Ulveling (shown on left), 35 of Stone Mountain, Georgia in 6:25:25, Victoria Rian, 41 of Indianapolis, Indiana in 6:36:27, and Samantha Simon, 18 of Janesville, Wisconsin in 6:46:49.

The overall male winners were Richard Kramer (shown on left), 42 of Naperville, Illinois in 5:39:09, Adam Dawkins, 32 of Jasper, Indiana in 5:49:48, and Christopher Derks, 38 of Irving, Texas in 6:02:23.

In addition to the 25K solo race, US Masters Swimming and Co-Race Directors Dick Sidner (shown on left) and Marcia Cleveland also offered a 5x5K relay. 25 relay teams participated.

The top teams were the first-place Na Masters in 5:56:31 (with split times of 1:05:58 for Brian Jones, 1:09:24 for Gunner Lehr, 1:09:52 for Chris Birnbrich, 1:14:59 for Anne Weilbacher and 1:16:18 for Beth Birnbrich), second-place Indy in 5:57:31 (with split times of 1:10:13 for Rachel Ripley, 1:10:23 for Susie Shuck, 1:11:41 for Will Huibregtse, 1:12:09 for Jamie Preston and 1:13:05 for Tom Perrin, and third-place Delnor in 6:09:18 (with split times of 1:10:01 for Kelly Perry, 1:13:46 for Amy Stefancic, 1:13:48 for Steve Stern, 1:14:11 for Ken Carlson and 1:17:32 for Mark Mattson).

Congratulations to Dick Sidner, Marcia Cleveland, USMS and all the competitors for an impressive job well done and a beginning of a new summer classic.

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