Best of 2011 - The Swim

In 2011, Diana Nyad made a valiant attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida before she was halted by jellyfish stings. Ryan Lochte hung a few defeats on the once invincible Michael Phelps. And every single triathlete who came to the sport's watery start line to brave lake and ocean was also a hero. Let us now praise the sport's fish!

All photographs © Timothy Carlson

Leaping into the Bay at the San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz.

Rasmus Henning unfolds his 747-size wingspan while warming up for the start at Ironman 70.3 California.

Pedro Gomes illustrates a joke on the pontoon at Austin.

Young competitor has sharp focus on the battle ahead at Lake Lopez, California.

Joyful anticipation at Pacific Grove.

An exuberant jump into Tempe Town Lake.

Sarah Groff warming up before clinching her 2012 Olympic slot at the London round of the ITU World Championship Series.

Dashing into the water at Challenge Copenhagen.

The Kona cavalry charge.

A corkscrew dive into the cold waters of Pacific Grove.

London WCS elite women's swim start.

The Ultraman Hawaii swim is ten thousand meters from Kailua Pier to Keauhou Bay.

Elite women charging on the backstretch of the London WCS swim.

Swimming through the washing machine effect at Treasure Island.

The infamous kelp crawl at Pacific Grove.

It's not all about the bike - Lance Armstrong emerges from the Pacific during the XTERRA World Championship in Maui.

Andy Potts at Oceanside.

Kate McIlroy leads two women out of the water at London.

Alexandre Ribeiro of Brazil takes off his wetsuit after the Ultraman swim in Kona.

Volunteers help strip the wetsuit off this elite competitor after the swim at Ironman Arizona.