This Monday morning in central California, the Millerton Mile served as the 2009 US Masters Swimming 1-mile national championship.
Jeff Erwin pulled away from rivals Mike Shaffer and Barton Wells, both of California, after the last turn buoy on the T-shaped course to win comfortably in 17:09 to Mike and Barton's second-place tie in 17:36.
The 1-mile championship drew over 200 focused competitors who had just finished the US Masters pool Championships the day before. The open water event was held under bright cloudless skies under flat conditions in the 22°C (72°F) water of Millerton Lake in Clovis.
Heidi George, a former distance swimmer from Middlebury College, won the women's event in 17:46 which was the fourth fastest swim of the day. Lisa Hazen from Saratoga (shown on left) was second in 19:07 and third was Meg Gill from San Francisco in 19:38.
"It was a good race," summarized Jeff Erwin of Idaho's Sawtooth Masters (shown on left).
"A few guys started early in the count-down and I got stuck behind some guys at the start. There was some bumping and kicking going on at the start, but I didn't get hit in the face. It took about 300 yards for me to catch up [to the leaders]."
"Mike [Shaffer] [of Ventura County Masters] was breathing to his right, so I am not sure he saw me. Then, I moved up and Mike and Barton [Wells] started to drafted right behind me. After the last turn buoy [on the T-shaped course], I started to pick up the pace and ended up winning."
The event was a great way to end the US Masters Swimming National Championships. As Rob Dumouchel said, "The lake was awesome. It's a super fun swim. I can't wait to do more open water!"
After competing in several pool events, including setting the masters national record in the 1650-yard freestyle, Jeff proved he was a master of the open water, too.
Photos above of the start and of Ahelee Sue Osborn finishing the Millerton Mile by Rob Dumouchel.
Floswimming provided great video footage of the race that can be seen here.