EAST MEADOW, N.Y. – Coming off of an impressive showing at last month’s FINA World Aquatic Championships, Duke alumna Ashley Twichell won gold in the women’s 800-meter freestyle on night one of the U.S. Open.
The open water world champion in the women’s five-kilometer event last month in Budapest, Hungary, Twichell was strong in her return to the pool Wednesday. She touched first in 8:30.63 to edge Ashley Neidigh (8:34.71) and Taylor Ault (8:36.26) in the 800-meter race.
A 2011 graduate of Duke, Twichell claimed two medals in Budapest to become the first American athlete with four career FINA World Championships open water medals. She earned silver as a member of the United States’ 5K team relay.
“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.”
Three other Blue Devils were also in action on the first day of competition at the Nassau County Aquatics Center. Incoming freshman Spencer LaFata finished 25th in the men’s 1500 freestyle (15:45.98) while sophomore Kylie Jordan competed in the preliminaries of the 200 butterfly (2:19.89) and classmate Alyssa Marsh in the preliminaries of the 100 freestyle (57.65).
Twichell and LaFata are slated to race again Thursday in the 400 freestyle. Incoming freshman Halle Morris is entered in Thursday’s 200 breaststroke event.