Pace Bend Park serves as the gateway to Texas Hill Country. Athletes were challenged with swim legs between a series of coves in the Colorado River and trail runs over undulating rocky and root-laden trails. Pace Bend Park is also well known for its limestone cliffs that drop down into the river, popular with cliff jumpers.
Athletes had the choice of long course team or solo and short course team or solo categories. Here, 21-year-old Abby Oglesby observes a few moments of silence before tackling her long course solo race which included four-plus miles of swimming over six different segments and 13-plus miles of running over seven segments.
Mass starts are a thing of the past in the COVID-19 era, and race organizers instead went with a time-trial start approach with athletes starting every 10 seconds. Team Swaggy Zaddys was one of the first teams to leave the start and was the first team to arrive back. They were wearing a special gold bib, which signified the duo as the highest ranked men’s team in the U.S.
Mike Lyle from Team Lyle Fitness navigates a swim exit through lots of exposed tree branches. Lower than usual water levels meant athletes had to stay attentive to avoid these water hazards in some sections.
After pulling teammate Stephan Schwarze through the swim, James Bonney from Team Old School enjoys a few minutes running with his youngest son. With over 100 Ironman finishes between them, Schwarze and Bonney were looking for a new endurance challenge and found it in swimrun.
Triathlete contributors, Chipper Nicodemus and Chris Douglas, from Team Low Tide Boyz were excited to race for the first time since OTILLO Catalina back in March.
Two-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Garrett Weber-Gale joined the adventure on the recommendation of his teammate Mark Iwans. The former professional swimmer is best known for the role he played as the second swimmer on team USA’s 4×100 freestyle relay at the Beijing Olympics in which the Americans beat France in come-from-behind fashion.
Oglesby was the youngest female to tackle the challenging Pace Bend course. Her mother, Katie Oglesby, also competed in the long course solo category.
Diane Hankee was the fastest female finisher in the long course solo category. The 43-year-old from Lake Elmo, Minn. completed the course in 3 hours, 6 minutes, and 47 seconds.
It’s common for athletes competing in the solo category to link up on the course. Here, Austin’s Lon Breitenbach leads Houston’s Tyler Blackburn through a swim segment on the long course.
Nicholas Mathers and Hannah Davies from San Antonio joined forces in the mixed long course.
In swimrun “heads up racing” is necessary to determine where to exit the water.
Swim exits on the Pace Bend course were steep and rocky. Pro triathlete Jenny Fletcher, one-half of the winning women’s long course team “Holier Than Thou,” follows Stephan Schwarze through the course.
Racers danced between river swims and rocky trails throughout the day.
Brandi Swicegood teamed up with former pro triathlete Paul Matthews in the mixed long course team category.
Team “SwimRunMonks” Sean Coetzee gives teammate Phillip Saenkov a hand exiting a swim leg. The two experienced racers have numerous OTILLO World Championship finishes to their name and exhibit the importance of teamwork.
Melissa Bartow pulls her California swimrun teammate Andy Hewitt through a rocky run section. Hewitt was the mastermind behind the OTILLO Catalina event that took place earlier in the year.
Bronwen and Gregory Dierksen were the fastest team through the Pace Bend course and also won the mixed long course team category. Team “Boston Wet Sox” is one of very few American teams to have podiumed at an OTILLO World Series event. They also wore the gold bib representing them as the highest-ranked mixed team in North America.
Lee Greene and Marcus Barton blitzed the course and finished as the top men’s long course team and defended their gold bib.