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Triathlon News & Notes: Olympians Feted, Athletes Added to Pho3nix, and Man With Laryngectomy to Race Half

While most of the triathlon world focuses on this weekend’s Ironman World Championships in St. George, here’s what—and who else—is making headlines. 

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Jonathan Brownlee, Imogen Simmonds sign with Pho3nix Foundation Team 

The Pho3nix Foundation, a sport nonprofit committed to engaging and inspiring children through sport, has added British Olympic medalist Jonathan Brownlee and Imogen Simmonds, the third-place finisher at the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships to its ambassador team. They join fellow triathletes Alstair Brownlee, Nicola Spirig, Georgia Taylor-Brown, and Vincent Luis on the ambassador team; the athletes are expected to participate in events like kids’ triathlons to “inspire the next generation.” Pho3nix is also the backer of the Sub7/Sub8 Project, slated for June 5 and 6.

Melissa Stockwell partners with Our Family food brand

In other partnership news, paratriathlete Melissa Stockwell has joined forces with Michigan grocery store and food distributor SpartanNash’s Our Family brand. The 42-year-old mother of two and Michigan native, who was the first female soldier to lose a limb in any U.S. war and won a bronze medal in the 2016 Paratriathlon event, will promote the brand, which is carried at 2,100 independent grocery stores as well as SpartanNash stores. 

2020 Olympians feted at White House

Last week, President Joe Biden welcomed Team USA to the White House to celebrate their participation and success in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Triathletes including Paralympic gold medalists Brad Snyder (and his guide Greg Billington) and Alyssa Seely, as well as Grace Norman took part in the longtime White House tradition, which included a gala.

Clean-water advocates hope to bring open water swimming back to D.C. 

A piece in Washingtonian Magazine features WaveOne Open Water Swimming, a group that hosts regular meet-ups for swims in the Potomac River. Despite the Potomac’s less-than-sparkling reputation (the swim portion of the now-defunct D.C. Triathlon was canceled several times due to poor water quality after major rainfall), Denis Crean, founder of WaveOne, says it’s “clean 350 days a year.” He is planning long-distance swims in-and-around the nation’s capital while advocating to lift the ban on swimming in all of D.C.’s rivers (because, without a special permit, it’s actually illegal to do so). 

Up-and-comer pro Rachel Zilinskas enjoying “second career” in triathlon 

Speaking of swimming, this Swimming World piece profiles up-and-comer pro triathlete Rachel Zilinskas, who was an All-American distance swimmer at the University of Georgia.The 27-year-old Zilinskas is pursuing her Ph.D. in biostatistics at the University of Minnesota while racing as a pro. Training under coach Andrew Yoder, she placed fourth at Ironman Texas last month, emerging out of the water just four seconds behind super-swimmer (and eventual race runner-up) Lauren Brandon—the two had a near six-minute lead on the rest of the field. 

British man with laryngectomy set to race a half-ironman

File this under “anything is possible:” A British man, who has a permanent hole in his throat from having his voice box and lymph nodes removed after a laryngeal cancer diagnosis in 2018, is set to complete a half-ironman this weekend. Richard Andrews, of Hereford, uses a specially designed snorkel which fits into the hole in his neck so he can breathe during the swim. He may be the first person with a laryngectomy to complete a triathlon.

Podcast Notes 

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