IRVINE, Calif. – Already a member of the 2018 U.S. Pan Pacific Championship Team in the open water 10-kilometer event, former Blue Devil Ashley Twichell qualified in a second event Sunday to close out the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships.
An open water swimming standout, Twichell claimed her first career national title in the pool during Sunday evening’s finals, winning the 1,500-meter freestyle in 15:55.68. That marked a personal best for the 2011 Duke graduate and made her the fourth-fastest all-time American in the event on the women’s side.
Twichell also notched an eighth-place finish in the 800 freestyle (8:32.01) this week in Irvine. She will make her first Pan Pacs appearance at the event later this month in Tokyo.
“I think that training the mile will really help with the open water races,” Twichell said. “Open water races come down to the last 400 or 500, so having the speed at the end is really critical. I’ve been focusing more on open water, but all my training is in the pool. With that swim [Sunday night], I’ll definitely be on focusing on the mile as well.”
Twichell was joined at the William Woolett Aquatics Center in Irvine this week by four other Blue Devils. Senior Max St. George earned a pair of finals appearances in the men’s 50 and 100 backstroke events, taking 17th at the 50-meter distance (25.44) and 23rd in the 100 backstroke (55.95). Fellow senior Judd Howard qualified to compete in four events at the meet in his hometown, placing 34th in the 100 breaststroke preliminaries (1:02.40) and 35th in the 200 breaststroke preliminaries (2:15.96).
Junior Alyssa Marsh raced to a ninth-place showing in the women’s 50 butterfly finals (26.88) and also swam in preliminaries of the 100 freestyle and 50 backstroke. Duke incoming freshman Henry Wu, also a native of Irvine, took 29th in the 50 breaststroke finals (30.07) and 32nd in the 200 breaststroke finals (2:19.97).