The inaugural ÖtillÖ Swimrun Catalina proved to be a tough test both for strong seasoned teams as well as new ambitious teams. The race distance was a total of 39 km with 7 swim sections adding up to 7,700 meters and water temps at about 16 degrees C / 61 degrees Fahrenheit. And on land the athletes encountered strong winds and steep grades but in a beautiful setting.
Nicolas Remires (FRA) and Francesc De Lanuza Gimeno (ESP) - Team Envol captured the title in the male category after a tight battle with Fredrik Axegård (SWE) and Oscar Olsson (SWE) of Team ARK Swimrun. Third place went to Gregory Harper (USA) and Prashanth Chandrashekar Ganesh (USA) of Team Temple of Mount Diablo.
In the female division category the current World Champions Fanny Kuhn (SWE) and Desirée Andersson (SWE) of Team WILD Envol proved to be strongest in these conditions and finished well up overall. Team ARK Souls/Addnature with Helena Wikmar (SWE) and Isabella Hedberg (SWE) grabbed second place - narrowly holding off Kelsie Person (USA) and Caroline Wolek (USA) of Team Lyle Fitness Ladies.
The mixed competition was won by Alexis Charrier (FRA) and Sabina Rapelli (ITA) of Team Envol Switzerland/ Vigor, 1.5 minutes ahead of the Team ARK with Hanna Skårbratt (SWE) and Johan Skårbratt (SWE). Americans Gregory Dierksen and Bronwen Dierksen of team Boston Wet Sox finished 3rd.
Here now are some stunning impressions from that day.
The Catalina Island was perfect for this event and even the most experienced athletes were fully challenged.
Early on the steep climb created a march of penguins
The water was brisk and swimming straight challenging.
Most teams race with paddles and pull buoys and with almost 5 miles of swimming to do the paddles got plenty of use.
Arriving back on land is always welcome and the typically buoy rested legs now get to do their work.
It did not take very long for the teams to be spread out all over the Catalina island.
While the surface itself was relatively smooth, the steepness of the grade caused even the top teams to power hike certain sections. Here eventual female division champions Fanny Kuhn and Desirée Andersson of Team WILD Envol lead Americans Gregory Dierksen and Bronwen Dierksen of Team Boston Wet Socks up this climb. The Dierksens ended up third in the mixed division.
The climbing on this course seemed endless.
Most teams opt to tether as especially in swimming it can make a big difference for athletes with different swim speeds, plus it also ensures that the team stays together. On non technical running courses it also helps.
Fanny Kuhn and Desirée Andersson of Team WILD Envol were soon alone in front and they ended up in 7th place overall and the female division title.
Not all running sections on the course were smooth fire roads.
With 7,700 meters of swimming in relatively difficult conditions the Catalina race favored the teams that swim well. Americans Gregory Harper and Prashanth Chandrashekar Ganesh of Team Temple of Mount Diablo, were pointed out before the race as being among the best swimming teams and they ended up third and with a ticket to the World Championships in Sweden.
Alexis Charrier and Sabina Rapelli of Team Envol Switzerland / Vigor had a tight battle all day but in the end they grabbed the mixed division win.
The second place finishers in the mixed category were from Sweden. Hanna Skårbratt and Johan Skårbratt of Team ARK.
Up front in the men's race it was also a tight fight for the top spot. Fredrik Axegård and Oscar Olsson here lead eventual winners Francesc De Lanuza Gimeno and Nicolas Remires out of the water, and late in the race even the top teams were cold.
The sunshine during the run segments was very much welcome.
What goes up also must come down.
Swedes Helena Wikmar and Isabella Hedberg of Team ARK Souls / Addnature finished second in the female division, but well behind the champions.
This sport is making me thirsty.
Results ÖtillÖ Swimrun Catalina
Catalina, USA / March 1, 2020
1. Nicolas Remires (FRA) and Francesc De Lanuza Gimeno (ESP) Team Envol - 4:38:41
2. Fredrik Axegård (SWE) and Oscar Olsson (SWE) Team ARK Swimrun - 4:43:25
3. Gregory Harper (USA) and Prashanth Chandrashekar Ganesh (USA) Team Temple of Mount Diablo - 4:53:12
4. Joan Bernat (ESP) and Ignasi Gironès Pujadas (ESP) Swim Run Lloret - 4:56:53
5. Lars Finanger (USA) and John Stevens (USA) Ödyssey SwimRun USA - 4:57:09
1. Fanny Kuhn (SWE) and Desirée Andersson (SWE) Team WILD Envol - 5:05:34
2. Helena Wikmar (SWE) and Isabella Hedberg (SWE) Team ARK Souls/Addnature - 5:37:30
3. Kelsie Pearson (USA) and Caroline Wolek (USA) Lyle Fitness Ladies - 5:37:51
4. Amber Ferreira (USA) and Aryn Marsh (USA) BetterTetheredTogether - 5:49:14
5. Chelsea Nauta (USA) and Catherine Breed (USA) Team CatDog - 5:53:35
1. Alexis Charrier (FRA) and Sabina Rapelli (ITA) Team Envol Switzerland / Vigor - 5:10:37
2. Hanna Skårbratt (SWE) and Johan Skårbratt (SWE) Team ARK - 5:12:01
3. Gregory Dierksen (USA) and Bronwen Dierksen (USA) Boston Wet Sox - 5:13:50
4. Johan Carlsson (SWE) and Helena Davilin (SWE) Skärgårdhotellet Nynäshamn - 5:43:30
5. Markus Rössel (GER) and Robin Pomeroy (USA) Team ARKsouls - 5:45:21
Images 1,6 and 17 © Paddy Mack / ÖtillÖ Catalina
Images 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19 © Pierre Mangez / ÖtillÖ Catalina