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National Title in Hand, Meyer Eyes Olympic Bid, Pair of World Championships

Jinshan City Beach will host the open water swimming events at the 2011 FINA World Championships.

The Particulars
Alex Meyer ’10, a former standout on the Harvard men’s swimming and diving team, will be traveling to Shanghai, China to compete in the 14th FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships July 19-23. Meyer will be racing in the 10-kilometer Wednesday, July 20 and the 25k Saturday, July 23 at Jinshan City Beach.

Qualifying for Worlds
Meyer comes into the World Championships as one of the strongest open water swimmers on the planet. He earned a spot in the elite field thanks to a strong performance at the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships June 10 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Meyer stayed in the lead pack of the 10k from start to finish and used a late surge to claim the national title with a time of 2:05:36.90.

What’s at Stake
Aside from the chance to take home a world title in the 10k, Meyer has the opportunity to represent the United States at the 2010 Olympic Games in London. Meyer needs to finish within the top 10 in the race in Shanghai to ensure himself a spot on the U.S. Olympic squad. Even though there will be 5k, 10k and 25k races at the FINA World Championships, the 10k is the only open water swimming competition in the Olympics. It was introduced as an Olympic sport at the 2008 games in Beijing.

Defending Champ
While the focus of this year’s trip will be on the 10k and a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, Meyer enters the competition as the defending champion in the 25k. Last year in Roberval, Canada, Meyer didn’t lead the race until the last kilometer, and a final push earned him a world title, as he beat out Valerio Cleri of Italy by one second. The 25k race will take place three days after the 10k event at the FINA World Championships.

A Familiar Face
Joining Meyer in Shanghai for the World Championships will be Harvard head coach Tim Murphy. Murphy has overseen Meyer’s open water workouts over the past few years and has been named the USA Swimming open water head men’s coach for the World Championships.