By Reach for the Wall Staff Writers.
Yesterday, despite finishing first in the men’s 10K at the 2016 U.S. Open Water National Championships in Miromar Lakes, Florida, PVS’s own Andrew Gemmell (NCAP) was disqualified for losing one of his transponders during the race, thereby giving the win to Ferry Weerman of the Netherlands. USA Swimming, however, later overturned the DQ and moved Gemmell back to the top of the standings. NCAP’s Matthew Lowe finished 35th. Ashley Twichell (Mission Viejo Nadadores in California) won the women’s 10K.
Huh? Transponder? In open water races, swimmers wear two transponders (i.e., GPS timing devices), one on each wrist. According to family members, one of Gemmell’s trackers was ripped off during a scrum (yeah, open water swimming is a contact sport). He got a black eye from it, too!
Apparently, about a half kilometer from the finish, race officials asked Gemmell if he wanted another device, but with everyone in a sprint to the finish and no time to lose, he declined. And he beat everyone to the finish, touching the finish pad with the other tracker on hand.
But, race officials DQ’ed Andrew for not having two transponders at the finish. So, he immediately filed a protest, which USA Swimming upheld because the rules do not specifically state that a swimmer must finish with both trackers. Winning!
— USA Swimming Live (@USASwimLive) April 8, 2016
— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) April 9, 2016
Although the win gives Gemmell the 2016 national title, it did not qualify him for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 5-21). The 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia served as the official qualifier for this summer’s Olympics.
The men’s and women’s 5K races will be on Sunday, April 10.