TORONTO – Chip Peterson (Pine Knoll Shores, N.C.) and David Heron (Mission Viejo, Calif.) gave Team USA a sweep of the gold and silver medals in the Pan American Games men’s 10-kilometer open water race Sunday at Ontario Place West Channel.
After making the final turn, Peterson pulled away from the rest of the leaders to touch in 1 hour, 54 minutes, 3.6 seconds to claim the gold, with Heron finishing in 1:54:07.4 to earn the silver. Ecuador’s Esteban Enderica Salgado rounded out the podium in 1:54:09.2.
“I felt like there was a little bit of pressure coming in, and I’m really, really pleased with that result,” said Peterson, who topped the podium today after winning Pan American Games silver in 2007.
Peterson and Heron established themselves among the leaders from the start and swam in the top four throughout the race. As the lead group approached the end of lap four, Peterson and Canada’s Richard Weinberger began to push the pace and stretch out the lead group. With two laps, just over 3 kilometers, to go the top 12 swimmers were within 30 seconds of one another.
Over the fifth lap, the four leaders made a move, putting a 6 second gap on the rest of the field. After rounding the final buoy, Peterson and Weinberger pulled in front with Heron and Enderica Salgado swimming side-by-side on their heels.
“It was a very, very steady race. It was strong through the first five laps, and I wanted to be able to move on that last lap,” Peterson said. “I had Richard right on my feet coming around the last turn. I saw him there and knew that it could come down to a tight finish over the last 200 meters.”
Peterson made his move and had at least a body-length lead as he entered the finish chute to secure the gold. Heron sprinted to the finish to touch for silver.
Heron said his aim was to save enough in the tank to sprint the last 300 meters. “I managed to do that and pass Richard,” he said. “I couldn’t see the last 500 because my goggle got knocked off, so I was a little worried but it worked fine.”
Eva Fabian (Keene, N.H.) won the women’s gold medal Saturday to give the U.S. a sweep of the Pan Am Games open water events for the first time since 2007.