By Gary R. Blockus | July 19, 2017, 10:43 a.m. (ET)

Ashley Twichell competes in the women's 5-kilometer open water swim at the FINA World Championships at the Kazanka River on July 25, 2015 in Kazan, Russia.

 

Ashley Twichell continued Team USA’s decade-long dominance in the women’s open water 5K by winning the gold medal at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday.

Twichell’s victory over runner-up Aurelie Muller of France marks the third straight world championship for a U.S. woman in the event. Twichell also became the most decorated U.S. woman in open water world championship swimming, winning her third medal. She previously won bronze in the 5K and gold in the team event in 2011.

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Twichell and teammate Haley Anderson, who finished fifth, led the pack with Anderson taking an early lead before Muller pulled in front. Twichell made a surge and overtook Muller heading into the final 700 meters to lead it out to the finish line.

“Having drafted for the first bit, I felt like I had something left,” Twichell said. “I didn’t feel like I used up everything, so that last straightaway I tried to bring in the legs, which I typically don’t use. I really didn’t know how far behind me anyone was, so I didn’t want to look back and waste any time. I just tried to put my head down as much as I could and go as hard as I could those last 240 meters.”

 Twichell, a 28-year-old from Fayetteville, New York, who placed 10th in the open water 10K last Sunday, will compete alongside Anderson in the open water 5K team relay on Thursday.

 Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.