The 2017 SwimRun USA Casco Bay

Beautiful images of the 2017 SwimRun USA Casco Bay by gifted photographer Aaron Palaian of photosbyaaron.com. Athletes from all over the country tackled this spectacular and tough island to island course in Maine. The long course ÍTILLÍ merit race event challenged athletes with 5 miles of swimming and 14 miles of running, but there was a short course option for those not yet ready to tackle the long one. Images below however are all from the long course.

Heidi Walker and Stephen Sponagle from California finished 5th in the mixed division and rumor has it that they are already looking for the next SwimRun adventure. Full focus by these athletes after a hard swim.

Early on the teams were still relatively close together, but as the race progressed they spread out. Tyler Gehrs and Matt Gossett of team New Wave Swim Buoy chasing another team here on the way to 17th place overall out of 80 teams.

The terrain is rather tricky in certain sections and trail running skills are advantageous in the SwimRun USA Casco Bay. But with its long swims, swimming skills are very important too.

The top returning mixed team from 2016 got to wear blue bibs in the race and here they are charging up a hill on the course.

Getting ready to return into the water for another swim. Transitions are key in this sport.

The defending female team of Emily Finanger and Erin Hunter (Team Valkyrie) successfully defended their title in 2017 and finished 7th overall. Here exiting another swim.

Californians Andrew Hewitt and Sean Durkin run SwimRun races in California but came out to Maine to compete. The two strong swimmers finished 8th in the male division and 9th overall.

It is in and out of the water all the time and a constant change of scenery.

It is good when you still can smile late into a race. With tether and paddles in hand and the watch on the tether belt on to the next swim.

Some of the water entrances and exits are challenging even for experienced SwimRun athletes. Here a team scrambles cautiously into the water.

The defending male team of John Stevens and Matthew Hurley again proved to be fastest, but the margin was very narrow. In their neon green bibs they finished the course in 4:18:08, and that was 2:01 quicker than the runner-up team.

Lou Tamposi and Christine Garvey (Team Tamposi) on the way to second place in the mixed division.

Fins are not super common in SwimRun, but they are certainly allowed. In this race with 5 miles of swimming it makes more sense.

The team mate here is off the tether and kelp has apparently taken the place.

Should we go left, right or straight down the middle? It is not always easy to decide on the perfect path. John Totman and Adam Smith in action in Maine.

Michael Hoffman and Joel McFarland of team Alright Alright Alright finished 12th overall and are about to get into cool refreshing water.

Nothing is easy here, but that did not stop Heather Westerman and Ann Cutrell. They finished 7th in the female division.

Gear check is also important after a swim. But again all of this costs valuable time.

A flat section is a welcome change but means more speed. Geoffrey Cleveland and Wade Blomgren grabbed 15th place in the male division.

Bart Foster from Boulder, CO and Tom Bates from Atlanta, GA brought a big fan club to Maine. And they seem very happy with their experience.