April 29, 2008
Berkeley - Former California Golden Bear Micha Burden will be among the nation's top open water swimmers vying for a spot at the 2008 Olympic Games when they head to Seville, Spain for the 5th FINA Open Water World Championship Games. The event will be held May 3-8, 2008, in the Guadalquivir River and will feature races in the 5K, 10K, and 25K open water swims. Swimmers competing in the 10K race will have the opportunity to qualify for the 10K marathon swimming event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, which will mark the events first-ever appearance in Olympic competition.
On the first day of competition, Burden (Anchorage, Alaska) and 2006 5K National Champion Kirsten Groome (Baltimore, Md.), will represent the U.S. in the women's 10K event. Burden will aim to finish in the top 10 in order to qualify for the Olympics.
If a country does not qualify a swimmer for the Olympics in the top 10, the continental champion or fastest swimmer of the continent will earn a spot in the Olympics. An additional nine swimmers who did not finish in the top 10 at the FINA Open Water World Championships, are not a Continental Champion and whose nation has not qualified any swimmers can contend for a spot in the Olympics at the Beijing Test Event at the end of May. The U.S. is permitted to take two swimmers to the Test Event to try to qualify for the Olympic Games with one who will actually qualify for the Games.
In addition to the 10K Olympic qualifying race, two-time National champion Chloe Sutton (Roseville, Calif.) and Christine Jennings (Longmont, Colo.) will compete in the 5K on May 5th for the women, while Josef Kinderwater (Lancaster, Pa.) and Chad La Tourette (Mission Viejo, Calif.) will swim in the mens 5K on May 6th. Ten-time National Champion Erica Rose (Cleveland, Ohio) and John Kenny (Atlantic City, N.J.) will join Olympic hopefuls Burden and Warkentin on the final two days of competition in the men/s and women/s 25K.
Swimmers qualified for World Championships by garnering top finishes at the 10K Open Water World Championships Trials in Fort Meyers, Fla., in October. Burden was a member of the Cal women's swimming team from 2002-04. She was a two-time All-American and earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors in 2004.