Sheehan Swims Open Water

May 16, 2013

By Kelly Mason

FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State distance swimmer Courtney Sheehan will be competing in her first USA Swimming Open Water National Championship this Sunday, May 19 at Castaic Lake in Santa Clarita, Calif. The 5K race will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Sheehan, a sophomore from Waukesha, Wis., swam a 17:10.68 in the 1650 freestyle at the Phill Hansel Invite in Houston, Texas last November and that time qualified her to compete at this event. Sheehan is one of 35 swimmers who will be competing in the Open Water race this weekend in southern California.

We talked to Sheehan about qualifying and the whole experience, below is what she had to say.

Can you explain how you qualified for the USA Swimming Open Water?
"Basically how you qualify is through a mile or thousand time you get from the previous season. I qualified by swimming a fast enough time at the Phill Hansel Invite in Houston, Texas and so now I'll get to go and swim a 5K in the open water race. If you do well enough there are other races you can add up to."

How is Open Water different than a swimming pool?
"Open water is a lot different. This race will be in a lake in Santa Clarita. Personally I've only done it a couple times and I've done a lot shorter races. It's just different, because there are no lane lines obviously and a lot of people swimming together at once, you could end up hitting things. You also have to be able to swim in a straight line and spot where the buoys are because if you don't watch you might swim off in the wrong direction. It's just a lot different than swimming in the pool and it's obviously a lot longer."

How have you been training for the race?
"I've definitely been training a lot of meters. A lot of long stuff, a lot of swimming and just trying to keep a consistent pace and building up my strength so I can do well."

Is this your first open water competition?
"Yes. I've done a couple of triathlons so I did some open water swims within the tri, but this is my first actual open water USA swimming competition. I'm really excited to race and I think it will be a cool experience."

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