Open Water

MD Swimming Open Water Board Chair: Chris Swensen, NAAC

MD Swimming Open Water All Star Team Coach: Fred Hviid, MAC

Open Water Athlete Board Rep: Kelsey Cashman, EST   

Courtesy: United States Lifesaving Association

The United States Lifesaving Association National Team staff will take eight women and six men to challenge Australia, Japan, New Zealand and host South Africa in the 2019 International Surf Rescue Challenge (ISRC). The international surf lifesaving invitational tournament consists of three days of surf lifesaving competition. Each event tests skills surf lifesavers use every day to help protect and rescue swimmers on coastlines around the world.

The event lineup includes surf swims, board races, surf ski races, beach sprints and combinations of the aforementioned disciplines in Ocean-man and Ocean-woman individual and relay championships. In addition the Rescue Tube Rescue, Beach Flags, Board Relay and Surf Ski Relays will be conducted on each of the three days of competition. Teams are only allowed to use six male and six female athletes on each day.

The men’s team will be led by National Team superstar Hayden Hemmens of Newport Beach; the recent high point award winner at the 2019 USLA National Championships and silver medalist at the 2018 Lifesaving World Championships (LWC) in the Surf Swim. Veteran National Team members Ryan Paroz (Hampton, NY) and Chase Robertson(Palm Beach, FL) will join three first time selections on the men’s team; Hunter Hay(LA County, CA), Josh McIntire (BST, Sussex, DE) and Mo Peacock (Wrightsville Beach, NC) the recently crowned Beach Flag national champion.

Eight elite female athletes will take on the international field led by USLA Nationals High Point winner and multiple event gold medalist Kelsey Cummings (LA County, CA). Joining Cummings to create arguably Team USA’s strongest female squad ever assembled are Amanda Calabrese (Hampton, NY), Stephanie Eisenring (Deerfield Beach, FL), Casey Francis (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Hallie Petersohn (Palm Beach, FL), Emily Ruppert (Sussex, DE), Lexi Santer (Sussex, DE) and 2018 LWC Oceanwoman finalist Jenna Solberg (LA County, CA).

The team will be led by Team Manager Tom McGibney (Volusia Countey, FL) and Head Coach Luke Turner (Destin, FL). Staff members April Denny (San Francisco, CA) and Joji Abasolo (LA County, CA) join the staff in South Africa to support the athletes as they take on the best surf lifesaving athletes from around the world.

Photos of Josh McIntire, BST  from the USA Lifeguarding National Championships and World Championships in South Africa.


National 5 K: Caroline Benda, Emma Atkinson, Alexandra Vanderloo, Henry Morrissey, Zachary Smith, Ronan Lauinger
Junior National 5K: Penny Lazar, Naomi Furman, Jordyn Ricciotti, Alexandra Harner, Hannah Neilly, Matthew Boehme, Matthew Merke, Dylan DeWitt, Brady Tierney, Jameson Vanderloo
Junior National 7.5 K: Ella Dyjak, Meaghan Lynch, Catherine Mesiner, Storrie Kulynych, Norah Rome, Jet Rosner, John Fitzsimmons, Charles Perk, Jay Freeman, John Koebel


Pictures from the 2019 Eastern Zone Open Water Championship Meet

Maryland Swimmers shine at Eastern Zone Open Water Championships:



2019 Maryland Swimming Open Water All Star Team Headed to Eastern Zone Championship Meet

ASC : Grant Murphy

CAA : Zach Zinderman, Matthew Merke, Zuilda Nwaeze

CBAC: Anna Boarman, Jay Pawloski

EST: Zach Smith, Connor Cashman, Caden Cashman, Kelsey Cashman

FSC: Julia Fondersmith, Ana Czaja, Leo Czaja

GBSA: Alexandra Cucchiaro

MAC: Alexander Riedel, Andrew Starvaggi

NAAC: Andrew Pitta, Charlie Pitta, Courtney Fellers, Connor Drucis, Kohl Hanes, Palmer Bice, Storrie Kulynych-Irvin, William Malone, Ian Foulk

NBAC: John Koebel, Brooke Shinnick, Caitlin Hurley, Carolina Benda, Grace Sharper, John Fitzsimmons, Eva Villagomez, Harrison Belbot, Meghan Benda, Alexandra Harner

RAC: Sofie Hogue, Geoffrey Cradock, Sarah Daly, Taylor Emrich

SPRC: Teagan Polish


NBAC’s Caroline Benda Rocks the 2019  Bay Swim

Today was a very different Bay Swim for two reasons. This was on record the first time ever that the 4.4 full crossing was converted to a shorter distance. After researching and asking some of my long time 20+ year veteran friends, it appears the swim has been cancelled entirely before due to conditions, but never converted shorter. This year’s 2 Mile edit was a first.

The more impressive first of the day, was a female taking the overall win. In all of race history, a male has been the top finisher, with rare, but a few occasions of a female cracking into the overall top three. While today wasn’t the full distance, history was still made when Caroline Benda of NBAC got to the timing mats first, ahead of hundreds of more experienced racers mixed of both genders.

Caroline swims with a distinct stroke, so as soon as the lead swimmer was in sight, I was fairly certain it was her. Coach Sue from CAA confirmed it was a female by noticing the cap had a ponytail stretching in back. In an exciting finish with two men charging her from the side with late surges, Caroline held them off and received a roar of screams from the spectators on shore.

Speaking with Caroline after the race was one of the most humble conversations you could imagine. She is very down to earth and blissfully unaware of her greatness. Her noteworthy achievement out in the Bay seemed like nothing more to her than finishing a typical practice. You may recognize Caroline’s mom in the photo, Marci, who is on deck at all of our championship swim meets as the Maryland Swimming Awards Chair.

Big day for Caroline and big day for open water swimming in Maryland! I would not be surprised to see Caroline appear on one of the US Open Water National Teams at some point in the future.

Contributed by  CAA Coach and  previous Bay Swimmer, Stephen Henderson

MD Swimming Policy for Open Water All Star Team Selection

LSC OPEN WATER ALL STAR TEAM Any team whose swimmer(s) place in the top 4 in the MD Swimming SCY Top 20, in the qualifying events, and has achieved at least an AAA time standard, as of the most recent SCY season, running from September until the conclusion of the most recent 14 & U and Senior State Championship Meets, may be awarded $300 towards that swimmer(s) attending the LSC All Star Open Water Meet. The qualifying event to be: 10 & U 500 Free, 11-12 500 Free, 13-14 1650 Free and 15-18 1650 Free. If swimmers in the top 4 positions decline to attend the event, the position will be offered to the next person on the list. The award will only be made to the team if the swimmer accepting the spot has placed in the Top 20 for the qualifying event, achieving an AAA time standard, and competes in the LSC All Star Open Water Meet.

Filing to be done within 30 days of the last day of the Meet attended.