The weather conditions during the inaugural ÖtillÖ World Series Malta were tricky at times with strong winds and rain, and over 200 teams of two from all over the world got an amazing and very memorable experience. The podium battles were incredible but maybe none more than the fight for second place in the male division. The Swedish 2018 World Champions Fredrik Axegård and Alexander Flores battled Henrik Wahlberg (SWE) and Francesc de Lanuza Gimeno (ESP) out of the water and up the short run to the finish with the second person in each team collapsing side by side across the finish. Eventually a tie was declared.
A day earlier the conditions were much more hospitable during the shorter distance Sprint and Experience events. And here now are some amazing images by Pierre Mangez from that weekend in Malta with teams in red being all male, teams in orange all female and teams in green all mixed.
Most of the swims during the ÖtillÖ Malta event were protected but at the end the long course teams had to battle heavy winds and big waves. Here the female team Les Niçoises with Isabelle Hallifax and Lise Viterbo ready themselves to go all in.
A day earlier during the shorter events the sun was very welcoming and the water less choppy.
The scenery during both day's events was magnificent but is often tough to appreciate when you are fully in the middle of it and do not have the bird's eye view.
Rain battered the teams during the World Series event on Sunday early on they were still pretty tight together battling for position.
Being able to scramble is a well appreciated skill in the sport of SwimRun and smooth and fast transitions are key.
The terrain on land was also quite difficult with lots of climbing and descending. Here team Paulina Sjòholm and Elin Sterner of team PainkillerZ descend down a narrow trail.
Alright, see that big boat out there? That is the buoy for you to swim around. Just kidding, the swim exit is just across this bay.
A helping hand is always appreciated and also common among competing teams. Here Ciro Tobar Ortiz De Urbina (ESP) helps out his partner Aintzane Argaiz Castro (ESP) out of the water.
Some of the more smoother sections were well appreciated and allowed for more speed.
Athletes in the main event swam 8.7km spread out over 13 swims, and that means there were 26 transitions. A lot of time can be wasted in transition, and practice and experience really help there.
Medical staff was always close by to ensure athlete safety. The total run distance was 31km and spread out over 14 runs.
The Swedish female team Helena Sivertsson and Hanna Skårbratt of Team ARK Swimrun on the way to the win with a very superb effort.
The tough swim conditions definitely favored stronger swimmers.
Did we mention the scenery? It is magnificent.
The signage on the flag banner here might say Sprint, but this picture was taken during the long course World Series race.
One might expect to encounter submarines here, but on this day there were only very colorful SwimRun teams.
Metal ladders like these were helpful for tired teams late in the race. With very tired arms and legs it is surprisingly hard to get out of the water even when the weather conditions are favorable.
Everybody is surfing now or at the very least making it in some form or another to the next swim exit.
The winning mixed team Anna Hellström and Victor Dahl of Team Envol finished the race 10th overall in a time of 4:58:50, with the next mixed team a bit more than 3 minutes behind them
So ready to be done.
Results ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Malta
November 24th, 2019
1. Remi Mariette and Guillaume Henneman (FRA) Team Head - Gravelines Tri 4:41:53
2. Fredrik Axegård and Alexander Flores (SWE) Team ARK Swimrun 4:42:40
2. Henrik Wahlberg (SWE) and Francesc de Lanuza Gimeno (ESP) - Team Envol Powered by Head swimming 4:42:40
1. Anna Hellström and Victor Dahl (SWE) Team Envol 4:58:50
2. Ulrika Eriksson and Peter Oom (SWE) Team ARK Swimrun 5:02:08
3. Annika Ericsson and Stefano Prestinoni (SWE) ARK/ Swimshop.se 5:11:37
1. Helena Sivertsson and Hanna Skårbratt (SWE) Team ARK Swimrun 5:18:25
2. Lorraine Axegård and Helena Dalivin (SWE) Team Hella 5:44:49
3. Linnea Olausson and Jenny Ramstedt (SWE) Primal Coaching HEAD Swimming 5:50:15
All images © Pierre Mangez / ÖtillÖ Swimrun