Men’s Swimming: Wilimovsky falls just short of defending world championship


Daily file photo by Brian Lee

Jordan Wilimovsky swims in a meet for Northwestern. The recent NU grad won the silver medal in the 10-kilometer open water swim at the world championships.

Cole Paxton, Web Editor

Swimming and Diving

Recent Northwestern graduate Jordan Wilimovsky missed out on defending his world title in the 10-kilometer open water swim by the smallest of margins, finishing second at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Tuesday.

Wilimovsky finished in 1 hour, 51:58.6 minutes to earn the silver medal. Olympic champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands touched the wall first to win in 1:51:58.5.

“I had a little left at the end, but just got out-touched at the end,” Wilimovsky said in a USA Swimming news release. “I’m happy to get on the podium.”

As he often does, Wilimovsky swam much of the race at the back of the pack. He was 49th after the first of four 2.5-kilometer laps and 48th at the midway point.

He then gradually moved up the race, finishing the third lap in sixth place and gaining the lead shortly thereafter. He swam from ahead for several minutes, but could not separate from Weertman and other contenders as he did in 2015, when he won the title by a championship-record 12 seconds.

The race essentially came down to a six-man sprint, with Weertman evidently taking the best line as the finish approached.

“I figured it was smarter just to stick on my line and I thought I had a good kick at the end, but I guess I was a little short into the finish and he got me right at the end,” Wilimovsky said in the news release.

The medal is nonetheless the latest major accomplishment for Wilimovsky, who two years ago became just the second American man ever to win a 10k open title. He then finished fifth in the Olympic 10k in Rio de Janeiro last summer, and was fourth in the 1,500-meter freestyle, a pool event. He became the first American man to swim in both the pool and the open water in the same Olympics.

Wilimovsky’s best collegiate season was 2014-15, when he won the Big Ten title and was third at the NCAA Championships in the 1,650-yard free. He was fourth at NCAAs in the 1,650 free this season.

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