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By Michael J. Stott
Open water competition is a take-no-prisoners endeavor. Meteorological conditions (wind, weather, etc.) and elements such as waves and water temperature present physical and mental pressures unlike those found in shorter aquatic contests. Then there are seasoned opponents—e.g., the average age of female 10K competitors at the 2016 Olympics was 25.03; for men, 25.64.
Among those in Rio was 24-year-old Haley Anderson. Her credentials include being an 11-time NCAA All-American (USC), three-time NCAA champion, 2012 Olympic silver medalist (10K) and five-time open water World Championship medalist (two gold, 2013 and 2015 5K; two silver, 2017 team event, 2019 10K; one bronze, 2019 team event).
The Granite Bay, Calif. native also has four U.S. open water championships, two Pan Pac gold and two World University Games gold medals. A USA Swimming national team member since 2009, last season she wore the colors of the International Swimming League’s Cali Condors.
In short, Anderson is decorated and determined. And at age 29, on her third U.S. Olympic team, she is headed for the Aug. 4 10K starting line at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo after an extended stay in Mission Viejo, working with Mark Schubert. Through it all, her main open water coach and training director has been Catherine…