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Santa Clarita Valley's Castaic Lake shines on national stage

Open Water National Championships conclude at local lake with event receiving high praise

Posted: May 19, 2013 7:20 p.m.
Updated: May 19, 2013 7:20 p.m.

West Ranch graduate and U.S. Naval Academy sophomore Riley Mita competes in the men's 5K event at Sunday's Open Water National Championships at Castaic Lake. Photo by Cory Rubin.

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The USA Swimming Open Water National Championships concluded Sunday with the men’s and women’s 5K races at lower Castaic Lake.

The event, which began with Friday’s 10K races, was hosted by local swim club Canyons Aquatics and featured some of the top swimming talent from around the world.

“We were extremely pleased, the two sets of races Friday and Sunday, people came from all over the United States to compete and said incredible things about the lake,” said meet director Ron Mita. “And I have to say Canyons Aquatics did an outstanding job hosting the meet.”

On Sunday, it was Andrew Gemmell and Haley Anderson, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, walking away with the men’s and women’s titles, respectively.

Their victories qualified both for July’s FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

Alex Meyer, Christine Jennings, Becca Mann and Sean Ryan qualified during Friday’s 10K.

The event’s final day came down to a nailbiter, with Gemmell outtouching Joey Pedraza to take the national title 57 minutes, 22.07 seconds to 57:22.68.

“I wanted to leave it all out there in the water, and I was fortunate to touch first,” said Gemmell in a release. “It’s great to get on the team, and I’m excited to be heading to Barcelona to represent the U.S.”

Anderson’s win was tight as well, but she took the title in 1 hour, 36.51 seconds. Mann was second in 1:00.38.04

“I had nothing to lose so on the last lap I just went for it,” Anderson said. “After a disappointing 10K on Friday, I was really happy how I bounced back today.”

Anderson finished eighth during Friday’s 10K event.

West Ranch graduate and U.S. Naval Academy sophomore Riley Mita finished 14th in the 5K with a time of 57:31.65.

In the women’s event, Hart graduate and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo swimmer Nicole Antoniuk finished 28th in 1:08:04.25.

According to Mita, the response to Castaic Lake was overwhelmingly positive, and Canyons Aquatics hopes to area will be chosen again by USA Swimming to host similar events.

“I had coaches come to me from all over the country saying they talked to USA Swimming saying they want to come back,” Mita said. “People unsolicited saying ‘We want this back here again.’”

jstein@signalscv.com

661-287-5536

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