After nearly 7,000 grueling meters, Michael Brinegar was in a fight for a FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships medal.
With France’s Logan Fontaine having broken away from the pack, Brinegar and two other competitors were battling for the final two medal spots over the final 600 meters Saturday in Hoorn, The Netherlands.
The Columbus North junior-to-be prevailed to capture the silver medal in the 15-16 age division in 1 hour, 26 minutes, 54.2 seconds for 7.5K (about 4.65 miles).
“I was really close to not being able to place as well as I wanted, and I’m glad I was able to finish well,” Brinegar said. “I met my goal getting on the medal stand and getting a medal for the U.S.”
Brinegar led the first half of the race before Fontaine surged into the lead. Fontaine’s winning time was 1:25:06.8.
American Simon Lamar finished third in 1:26:56.1, less than two seconds behind Brinegar.
“I’m really happy about getting second because it was a very competitive field with the age group I was in,” Brinegar said. “It was a really amazing experience, just the atmosphere of the race and getting to represent the U.S. and getting to know the swimmers from other countries. The coaches were all helpful, and it was a really good learning experience, too.”
The World Junior Open Water event came a week after Brinegar had finished competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. He finished 83rd in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:00.88 and 40th in the 1,500 in 15:40.07.
Brinegar was competing in the trials for the first time.
“It was an amazing atmosphere to be in,” Brinegar said. “Being able to swim against the best people in the country, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, but I got in there and did my best and used it as a learning experience. I’ll be more ready to swim well (at the 2020 trials) and hopefully be able to drop time next time.”
This week and next week, Brinegar is back in California, where he has spent the past two summers training with Golden West Swim Club. He’ll return to Columbus for the beginning of school the first week of August, then will fly to Minneapolis for Junior Nationals the second week.
“I’m looking forward to coming home, but focusing on my training right now,” Brinegar said.
The top three finishers in Saturday’s FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships 15-16-year-old boys division:
1. Logan Fontaine, France;1:25:06.8
2. Michael Brinegar, USA;1:26:54.2
3. Simon Lamar, USA;1:26:56.1