Open water world champion Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y./North Carolina Aquatic Club) and Olympic gold medalist Gunnar Bentz (Atlanta, Ga./Athens Bulldog Swim Club) picked up wins on night one of the U.S. Open at the Nassau County Aquatics Center.

Fresh off the 2017 FINA World Championships, Twichell took home gold in the women’s 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8:30.63. Ashley Neidigh (Jacksonville, Fla./Unattached) took second with an 8:34.71, while Taylor Ault (Hacienda Heights, Calif./La Mirada Armada) turned in an 8:36.26 for third place.

“Coming off of open water I wasn’t really sure where I would be at,” Twichell said. “Happy with the swim, and I just wanted to get in there and race. I figured I’d come back from worlds, I had about a week. I hadn’t medaled on the world stage in open water since 2011, so to come back and win a medal was really great.”

In the men’s 200m butterfly, Bentz topped the field by over a second in 1:56.34. Finishing second was Miles Smachlo (Rexfield, N.Y./Unattached) with a time of 1:57.73. Bowen Gough of Australia rounded out the top three finishers with a 1:59.15.

“It was pretty good, I only added eight-tenths from world trials,” Bentz said. “Cheering [the world championships team] on was just incredible and they were just on fire all week.”

Ruby Martin (Coralville, Iowa/Iowa Flyers Swim Club) took home gold in the women’s 200m fly with a 2:10.18. Italy’s Francesca Stoppa finished second with a 2:11.05, while Vanessa Krause (Unattached/Chesterton, Ind.) picked up third place with a time of 2:11.13.

In the men’s 100m free Robert Howard (Alexander City, Ala./University of Alabama Swim Club) won the title with a 49.04 and was followed by Tate Jackson (Austin, Texas/Longhorn Aquatics), who posted a 49.11. Maxime Rooney (Livermore, Calif./Pleasanton Seahawks) and B.J. Hornikel (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Unattached) tied for bronze with a times of 49.25.

Other wins on night one included:

  • France’s Marie Wattel in the women’s 100m free with a 54.27
  • France’s Damien Joly in the men’s 1500m free with a 14:55.46, a new meet record

The 2017 U.S. Open continues through Sunday, Aug. 6 with daily prelims at 9 a.m. ET and finals at 5 p.m. ET.


University of Florida Athletes

Final Times:
Women’s 200m fly – B final
Hannah Burns – 2:15.48
Women’s 200m fly – C Final
Kay Sargent – 2:15.03
Men’s 200m fly – B final
Brennan Balogh – 2:00.41
Men’s 200m fly – C final
Ben Kennedy – 2:02.89
Men’s 100m free – A final
Maxime Rooney – 49.33

Distance Heats:
Women’s 800m free
Taylor Ault – 8:36.26 (3rd place)
Autumn Finke – 8:47.13 (14th place)
Kahra Williams – 8:52.37 (19th place)
Kay Sargent – 9:02.99 (37th place)

Men’s 1500m free
Andrew Brady – 15:17.90 (3rd place)
Ben Lawless – 15:23.04 (5th place)
Drew Clark – 15:48.17 (30th place)
Taylor Delk – 15:49.97 (33rd place)

Preliminary Times:
Women’s 200m fly
Hannah Burns – 2:15.35 (17th place)
Taylor Ault – 2:16.22 (22nd place)
Kay Sargent – 2:16.53 (25th place)
Men’s 200m fly
Brennan Balogh – 2:01.13 (12th place)*
Ben Kennedy – 2:03.06 time (22nd place)&
Women’s 100m free
Kelsey Dambacher – 57.38 (47th place)
Sherridon Dressel – 58.04 (61st place)
Men’s 100m free
Maxime Rooney – 49.33 (3rd place)^
Grady Heath – 50.87 (20th place)&
Viktor Toth – 51.07 (25th place)
Bayley Main – 51.23 (33rd place)
Mitch D’Arrigo – 51.86 (42nd place)