|Born:||February 03, 1992|
|Residence:||Mission Viejo, CA|
|Event(s):||10k open water|
Open road to Beijing
Chloe Sutton will compete in the 10k open water race, which will make its Olympic debut in Beijing. The newest swimming event will take place at the Shunyi Rowing Park, with Sutton facing off against 24 other women for the inaugural gold medal. Sutton is no stranger to Olympic competition, having won the 10k at the Pan American Championships in 2007, and looks to be a medal contender in Beijing.
Out of the pool
Open water swimming is not the average 16-year-old's pastime, but Sutton began in 2006 when she was invited to a camp. She finished second in the 5k race and agreed to stick around for the 10k after several coaches asked her. She won that race, and though she had always been a distance swimmer, she realized that the longer she swam, the faster she got.
Sutton's journey to Beijing took a detour when she finished third in the 10k at the U.S. World Championship Trials in October 2007, making her ineligible to swim at the first Olympic qualifier in early May 2008. According to the complex qualification process, only the top two finishers in the race would swim at Open Water World Championships, where the top 10 finishers would then earn Olympic berths. But when neither American woman qualified there, the door opened once again for Sutton, who was selected to represent the U.S. at the second qualifier in late May in Beijing. Sutton led most of the way before ultimately winning the race and ensuring her spot at the Olympics.
Though Sutton was considered the favorite at the U.S. Trials, she finished third after a bad final turn. She collided with Micha Burden, who won the race, and never fully recovered. Both swimmers veered slightly off course before righting themselves, and Burden was in a better position to take off. Sutton battled with second-place finisher Kirsten Groome but couldn't match Groome in the push to the finish.
Sutton's father, David, is a colonel in the Air Force, and her family has moved 11 times since she was born. At age 7, when the family was living in Colorado Springs, a friend asked Sutton to try swimming with her -- and she ended up loving it. The family's latest move was because of Chloe, not her father; the Suttons now live in Mission Viejo, Calif., where her swim team is located.
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