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Friday, June 10, 2011
Alex Meyer, Eva Fabian win 10K titles

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Alex Meyer won the men's 10-kilometer race at the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships on Friday, locking up a place at the world championships next month, while Eva Fabian survived choppy ocean waters to win the women's event.

Meyer, from Cambridge, Mass., finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 36 seconds, just two seconds ahead of Sean Ryan of Chattanooga, Tenn. Both of them earned spots at worlds.

Fabian, of Keene, N.H., won the women's race in 2:18:31. Christine Jennings of Longmont, Colo., finished second in 2:18:33. They also advanced to the world championships, which serves as the Olympic trials for the 2012 London Games.

"It was a really, really rough day out there," said Fabian, a 17-year-old who will be a freshman at Yale University in September. "There was a lot of waves and a lot of wind, and hard sightings, and finding the buoys."

There were 109 swimmers -- 66 men and 43 women -- who started the race. Once the top swimmers were in, officials abandoned the remainder of the race because of the conditions.

Remaining swimmers were picked up by a boat and brought to shore.

"I think most of us have swam in waters that were worse than this," said the 22-year-old Meyer, who graduated with a biology degree from Harvard last year. "This is one of the things you learn to adapt to, different conditions, as an open-water swimmer."

Ryan is hoping to compete in London in both open water and the 1,500 meters in the pool.

"I was really uncertain coming into the race whether I'd be able to make the top two because last year I finished in seventh place and didn't make the national team," the 18-year-old said. "So I started to focus on the 1,500 meter. Now I'm going to try to go for both."

The 24-year-old Jennings, who won the 10K open-water event at the 2010 MOO Pan Pacific Championships, also struggled with the difficult conditions Friday.

"It was a great learning experience," she said. "The first 5K I kept swallowing water and salt water dehydrates you. I was getting a headache. I kept saying, 'You gotta hold on,' and I started praying, 'God, you have to help me through this one.'"

The USA Swimming Open Water National Championships continue Sunday with the 5K race.