Open water swimming in triathlon races is something that can strike a bit of fear into triathlete’s hearts – particularly for beginners or weak swimmers – mainly due to fear of the unknown. But this need not be the case! Gaining confidence in this area by practicing good techniques will help you immensely come race day, and can turn this leg of the race into an enjoyable experience where, by following a few handy tips, you can even find yourself gaining useful advantages over your fellow competitors in the swim!
Our latest Orca Flash tip offers you secrets that pro’s like Olympian and 70.3 Champion Courtney Atkinson have picked up over the years that will help you to be faster in your open water swim with no extra effort required!! Like the sound of that?
Three key tips Courtney highlights are:
1. Open Water Entry and Exit Technique
2. Dolphin Diving to get a head start on your fellow competitors
3. Picking Landmarks to aim for before the start so that you swim straight
Check out this video as Courtney explains these more:
As they say, a picture tells a thousand words and we think this photo of Sebastian Kienle running up the finish chute on his way to taking out the Ironman European Champion title for 2014 at Ironman Frankfurt on the weekend says it all.
In usual Sebi styles, the bike was where he began to show his dominance – some of the more eagle-eyed among you would’ve noticed the proto Orca cycle shoe covers Sebi wore as he continues to strive for higher aero-dynamics, and so speed, on the bike. He certainly found this speed – smashing the previous bike course record held by Andreas Raelert in 2010 by more than 8 minutes with a 4:12:14 bike split on a fairly difficult bike course!!
Followed by a stellar run in his Orca RS1 Dream Vegas Race Suit with a marathon time of 2:49:35 Sebastian crossed the finish line to not only take his first Ironman win, but more importantly the Ironman Europe Champion title in what was also a new course record of 7:55:14.
With the bike course smashed, race course smashed, and Ironman European Champion all accomplished on his first day of being 30, the year ahead is off to a great start!!
All around the Northern Hemisphere we had Orca athletes out racing and achieving great results this weekend!! Was great to see Chris McCormack (Macca) getting out there again at the Tri Rock Philadelphia Triathlon in the US – taking out the win and showing us all he’s still got what it takes!
Meanwhile across the waters at the IM 70.3 Luxembourg it was great to see our latest Orca athlete Susie Hignett having a great day out coming 2nd place overall after a stellar run brought her up to finish just 23secs behind first place!!
Also at IM 70.3 Luxembourg was Orca athlete Albert Moreno who continued his great season with a 6th place in a very competitive field with a time of 3:57:48.
And last, but definitely not least we had Matt Sharp and Dani Molina competing at the ETU Kitzbuhel European Tri Champs. Dani Molina continued his stellar form with a 2nd place in what was a fast-paced race in the Paratriathlete category! While Matt Sharp had his best race of the season so far on the ITU circuit, showing he can pull it out of the bag when the results are needed! As usual the times were super fast and Matt performed superbly to finish 10th in a time of 1:55:48 – with the winning time being 1:54:08 it is obvious how closely matched all these guys are in these top 10 spots. Congratulations Matt!!
It was an exciting day yesterday in Germany for Orca athlete Sebastian Kienle who won Challenge Kraichgau in a comfortable 6min lead and in doing so became Germany’s Middle Distance Champion for 2014!
Sebi had a stellar swim – surprising quite a lot of people as this is not generally his greatest leg – but we think it was boosted by his Orca wetsuit! And then on to the bike he just continued to dominate – catching and passing all who’d exited the swim in front of him within the first couple of miles on the bike course. By the bike-run transition Sebi had 5.45 on his nearest chasers and while on the run he only increased this. He was looking in top form in his Orca RS1 Dream Vegas Race Suit and his lead was up to 7mins on the run course at one stage, but with a few miles to go Sebi started to take it abit easier and enjoy his finish. Rightly so we think!
Fellow German Orca athlete Jenny Schulz also had a good day out, finishing 9th female overall.
As we get to the business end of the season, each race becomes more and more important for scoring valuable points – particularly for our Kona focused athletes like Asa Lundstrom and Andrew Starykowicz.
This past weekend was definitely a step in the right direction – with Asa’s 3rd placing at Ironman Cairns she secured her slot at Kona!! This will be her first time at Kona so really is a dream come true to qualify! The conditions were pretty treacherous and unfortunately in the 70.3 distance held on the same day, last year’s winner Courtney Atkinson was a casualty of the horrible weather with a puncture that put him out of contention. As ambassador of the event, Courtney was still on hand at the finish line to hand out finishers medals to those who made it to the end.
Andrew Starykowicz also had a great day out at the Eagleman 70.3, going home with a well-deserved win! After a great swim and a blistering bike, it was on the run that Andrew sealed the deal, fending off a challenge in the last 3 miles to win by 6 seconds!! Although this stellar win makes Kona look very likely for Andrew, we will have to wait and see for now!
In Olympic distance, ITU athlete Matt Sharp was very happy to claim the win at The Blenheim Palace Triathlon, which is part of the British Triathlon Super Series. This was a real confidence booster for Matt after a season so far that has not reflected all the training he built in over the winter, and he had the following to say after the race:
“To be honest I wasn’t having the best day. I gave it everything I had on the swim and tried to break away quite a few times on the bike but the group was pretty big. Then on the run, I just tried to go hard and maintain it all the way to the finish.
“I really needed that confidence boost today and I’m absolutely chuffed with my result. I’ve got Europeans in two weeks and it’s a really hard, hilly course so it should suit me and I’m looking for a really good result there then on to the London Triathlon.”
Mid-distance up and comer Albert Moreno takes on the challenge of the 70.3 Pays de Aix this coming weekend. Albert will be hoping to one-up his performance from last year where he was a close 2nd place at this event! This year’s event looks set to be a competitive one with the likes of Frederick van Lierde competing so Albert will have his work cut out for him!
Known as a very fast runner in his field, Albert has shared a favourite workout with us in our latest Orca Flash Tip.
Another busy weekend has come and gone for some of our key Orca athletes with events happening all over the world!! The most exciting result of course would have to be Courtney Atkinson becoming the Australian Xterra Champ! Courts had a great start with a convincing lead out of the non-wetsuit swim and never really looked back, ending up the first Aussie male home! Courtney has had some great results so far since he’s stepped it up from a successful ITU career to Xterra/70.3 distances!
Meanwhile on the ITU circuit, Matt Sharp and Melina Alonso were at it again at the WTS in Cape Town, South Africa! Managing 34th and 44th place respectively they’ll be looking forward to seeing what they’re really capable of at the next ITU race coming up in three weeks at Yokohama.
Across the continent Asa Lundstrom and young up and comer Albert Moreno had another great hit out at the popular Challenge Fuerteventura! With Asa recovering from a great result at Melbourne in a tough field she still managed to pull a 7th place out of the bag. Albert also got off to a great start and was riding in the top 10 when he unfortunately got a puncture, which meant his race was over for the day!
Meanwhile over in the US young Orca athlete Michael Poole had a great swim/bike effort at St Anthony’s Triathlon in St Petersburg, finishing up 2nd equal off the bike with an eventual 15th placing in the end. This is a promising result from Michael who’s been working on his swim to make sure he’s up there for his strongest leg, the bike.
Kicking off the North American season for 2014, Oceanside 70.3 in California is a key race in the 70.3 calendar and this was acknowledged with three of Orca’s top athletes Sebastian Kienle (GER), Andrew Starykowicz (USA) and Albert Moreno (ESP) making it a priority to be there.
Starykowicz, who wasn’t even sure if he could start after a debilitating stomach flu, still managed an 8th out of the water and then in typical Starky fashion powered his way to the front of the pack to arrive at T2 first off the bike with the fastest bike split of the day. Albert and Sebi chased hard after being 13th and 15th out of the water respectively, and this paid off with Sebi clocking the 2nd fastest bike split of the day, while also riding himself back into podium contention! In typical Sebi style he pulled out a speedy run which resulted in him achieving 3rd place and that coveted spot on the podium! Albert was not far behind, running himself up to 10th place, a great achievement in his first hit out for the year on American soil.
Meanwhile over in Auckland, New Zealand the ITU Triathlon World Championship Series also began for the season – with Orca’s own Matt Sharp from Great Britain racing his way to 15th place in a talented field. We look forward to seeing what he can do in Capetown, South Africa in a few week’s time! Stay tuned to Orca Community to find out more!
Are you about to start your season and still wondering about which Orca wetsuit is the best one for you? If this is the case check out our handy wetsuit finderat orca.com or sign up for any of our demo days to be held in April in France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom and try out the real thing for yourself!