Stunning impressions from ÖtillÖ Utö

The sport of SwimRun started with a bet on the island of Utö and the second stop of the 2018 ÖtillÖ World Series returned to this magical location on Sunday. A day earlier 110 teams from 15 Nations raced on the Sprint course, an option that is available at all the ÖtillÖ races, and helps bring new people to the sport. The big race however was on Sunday and 203 teams from 22 countries tackled the 42km course with 17 swims and 34 transitions and at the pointy end of the field teams battled for spots to the 75km long ÖtillÖ World Championships later this year, on a course that also includes the island of Utö. Enjoy now the great pics of Pierre Mangez.

Surrounded by beautiful nature but it is important to be focused on the task ahead. Utö is one of the fastest courses of the World Series but that does not mean it is easy.

Mikael Rodemar and Henrik Gustafsson had their game face on before the start. Some folks started with swim cap and goggles on their heads, while others kept the swim cap and goggles in their hands on this relatively warm day.

The first couple swims are very busy and after that it quickly spreads out.

A bit further back in the field the pace and urgency is a bit more mellow.

Nicolas Remires and Julia Dent of Team Envol 1 battled Pontus Lindberg and George Bjälkemo of Team Garmin from the start. Lindberg and Bjälkemo are wearing the Golden Bibs that shows that they are the champions from the season opening Hvar race.

The battled for the mixed division was very tight too and here Thomas Schreven and Jasmina Glad Schreven of Team Say No To Doping lead eventual winners and current Golden Bib wearers Martin Flinta and Helena Erbenova Karaskova.

Full focus in the water and this athlete opted to not wear goggles. Something we have seen before.

Team Ark Souls Tony Edmundsson and Lotta Lundbäck try to keep their balance on this slippery swim exit.

Fanny Dackwardt and Desirée Andresson of Team Envol led the women's race and they too had won the opening race in Hvar. Thus the Golden Bib.

When you look close at the gear of the SwimRun athletes you will find all kinds of interesting choices and experiments. This athlete made his swim buoy from a couple of plastic bottles. Also, carrying the swim buoy on the lower back instead of the thigh is gaining in popularity.

Spectators are always appreciated and so are some flatter gravel sections here and there.

The terrain gets very tricky in spots and while the next swim is already in view it is best to keep your eyes on the ground.

Sometimes scrambling is the fastest way to get over a section. And patience is greatly appreciated here. Yelling at other competitors to get out of the way is not appreciated and thus not common. Most teams are very considerate, and are typically encouraged by race organizers to act that way.

There was no stopping Fanny Dackwardt and Desirée Andresson from winning again. They even had time to smile at the paparazzi.

Frans Lundin and Martin Granelund of Södertörn Swimrun dig deep in the water to get to the next run.

Spread out nicely as seen by this drone.

Teams also get to experience a bit of the Swedish countryside.

The happy winning male team of George Bjälkemo and Pontus Lindberg.

Martin Flinta and Helena Karaskova Erbenova of Team Thule Crew held on for the win in the mixed division and they finished 5th overall.

All images © Pierre Mangez / ÖTILLÖ Utö