Tue, Aug 24, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Jennings, Peterson hand US perfect finish at Pan Pacs

REUTERS , LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Christine Jennings of the US listens to the national anthem after winning the gold medal on Sunday in the women’s 10K open water final at the Pan Pacific 2010 swimming championships in Long Beach, California.

PHOTO: REUTERS

The US wrapped up a hugely successful Pan Pacific Championships with wins on Sunday by Christine Jennings and Chip Peterson in the 10km open water events at Long Beach Marine Stadium.

Jennings pulled away from fellow American Eva Fabian over the last 400m to touch first in the women’s race and Peterson held off compatriot Fran Crippen in a tight finish to claim the men’s title.

“It’s great to have Americans go one-two,” a smiling Peterson told reporters. “It’s absolutely amazing for us right now and hopefully will lead to a good showing for the US in Shanghai.”

Next year’s world championships take place in Shanghai.

The Jennings-Peterson double gave the US a final tally of 28 gold medals from the five-day meet, well ahead of second-placed Australia, who totaled just six. Japan finished with three golds, while Canada and Brazil earned two apiece.

With multiple Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte among several US swimmers watching from the sidelines on Sunday, Jennings powered to victory in bright sunshine.

“To win here really means a lot,” a beaming Jennings said. “I have had so many people behind me and supporting me along the way. I can’t express how thankful I am to all of them.”

Pre-race favorite Chloe Sutton of the US was disqualified after receiving two yellow cards for pulling on turn buoys in the first 2km and again just beyond the midway point. Swimmers are not allowed to touch them.

“If that’s the case, I wasn’t the only one,” Sutton said. “I was never aggressive with anybody the entire race, but it’s not a big deal. I have already got a gold and a silver medal this week and this race was just for fun.”

In the men’s race, Canada’s Richard Weinberger held the lead with 2km remaining, but Peterson and Crippen then forged ahead and dueled for the title over the last 500m.

Crippen put on a late charge, but Peterson responded to snatch the lead in the last 150m and held on for a nail-biting victory.

The Pan Pacs, held every four years, attracted 336 competitors from 21 countries.

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