The Pan Pacific Championships widened their scope considerably this year by including a 25K open water competition. Held on Wednesday, August 9, the race took place on scenic Lake Lanier located just north of Atlanta.
Canada's Greg Streppel, the 1994 25K World Champion, added another gold medal to his collection by winning the race in 5:08.02. "It is a very satisfying feeling to win," he said. "That was my goal this year."
Joseph Mitchell and David Bates, both of Australia, were well behind him in 5:17.25 and 5:19.58 respectively.
Streppel, of Victoria, was coached by his brother Anthony, who sat in for his regular coach Ron Jacks, who could not make the competition. A pharmacy student at the University of British Columbia, Streppel has been an open water veteran since 1990 and says he's thinking about retiring. "Finally being on top, I have realized that it's much harder to stay on top than it is to get there," he said. "I know my age is maybe catching up with me a little bit. I'm 27 years old, but I've trained like a bugger since I was 13 or 14 years old, so maybe it's time to pack it in."
Other Canadians in the race were Alexandre Leduc in 4th (5:20.32) and Alexandre Blazyc in 10th (5:51.44).
In the women's competition, Bambi Bowman of the USA took top honours with her winning time of 5:34.19. Last year's world champion, Melissa Cunningham of Australia, was second in 5:35.37, and Samantha Chabotar, also of the USA, was third in 5:47.20.
Women's 25km medallists on the podium in Atlanta. For larger 72k photo click on image. Photo © Marco Chiesa
Canadian women in the race were Nathalie Sauvageau in 5th (5:52.42), Kim Dyke in 6th (5:58.57), and Claudine Brault in 9th (6:12.01).