Gerry Rodrigues, who wrote and co-produced the best-selling DVD Open Water Swimming – Skills, Techniques & Racing Tips with Michael Collins and Endurance Films, coaches numerous tactical moves to his open water swimmers. One of the most brazen moves he teaches is the "Circle Move" that was used by Eva Fabian at the recent Nike Swim Miami 10K race.
The Circle Move is a gutsy tactical move, very rarely seen in American open water races.
The USA Swimming 10K National Championships and World Championship Team Trials will be held in Ft. Myers, Florida on June 14th. The trials are held concurrently with Swimming Canada's World Championship team trials, so the competition should be excellent with several 5K, 10K and 25K spots up for grabs for the American and Canadian world championship teams.
The Open Water Festival, run by Gregg Cross, includes a US Masters Swimming 5K race, the USA Swimming National 5K Championships, USMS 1-mile race, Florida Swimming's 10&U 800-meter Open Water, 11-12 1.5K Open Water, 13-14 2.5K Open Water, Senior 2.5K Open Water Championships and a Duathlon (1.5K run + 400-meter swim + 1.5K run) and the USMS Masters Mile.
In addition to the top Canadian swimmers, there will be several experienced open water swimmers in the women's field. The pre-race favorite, Olympian 10K swimmer Chloe Sutton, is swimming extraordinarily well in the pool nowadays, may push the pace and run away from her competitors. But Kirsten Groome, 1996 Olympic gold medalist Ashley Whitney and the Canadian will also be fighting for their own berths on the world championship team. We have heard a few other top swimmers who will enter, but their participation will be kept confidential until race day.
With such a competitive group of Americans and Canadians, maintaining a good position within the lead pack is going to be tough, but it will be good preparation for the world championships in Rome where the Europeans, Brazilians and Australians will present world-class competition.
What is interesting is how each of the swimmers will view the 5K and 10K races. The 5K race is on Friday and the 10K race is on Sunday. Most Europeans double-up on the 5K and 10K at the world and European championships, believing they are well-prepared to perform well in both races with two days rest.
However, with so much on the line at the American and Canadian world championship trials, we wonder if the top men and women are going to go all-out in the 5K - or just get a good feel for the course. Or, with such a competitive field, it is our guess that no one will want to simply concede the 5K given the ample time to recuperate for the 10K.
Good luck to all.
Upper photo shows Chloe Sutton and Kirsten Groome in Beijing. Middle photos show 2005 world 10K champion Chip Peterson, the men's pre-race favorite, and Joe Kinderwater, another pre-race favorite who trains with Chip at the University of North Carolina. Lower photo shows the start of the 2007 5K national championship in Ft. Myers.