Race Coverage

2021 Swim-Off: Lap Swimmers - 3, Triathletes - 1...


By Doobie Kurus

Here is a recap of the 2nd Annual SWIM-Off to Summer that took place Saturday June 5th. We had about 150 people signed up again, which included a 60/40 split field of "triathletes" to "swimmers". With temperatures moving into the upper 90s that afternoon, what better place to be than in the lake swimming? In our first year (2019), TEAM Lap Swimmers swept the podium in all 3 race distances, and we had to go all the way down to 7th place before a member of TEAM Triathletes emerged in Christina Roberts. Would the triathletes fare better this year, or would the lap swimmers prove once again that they rule the open water? 

The Sprint (.3 mile) race turned out to be an actual sprint, as swimmers Skylar Percy (13) of Victoria and Nat Roberts (14) of Decorah, IA raced out of the water and onto the beach finishing in 6 minutes and 14 seconds. Bob Oliker and Parker Larson came in 2nd and 3rd, respectively for the men, and Stefanie Larson and (last year's winner) Ingrid Jeske, did the same for the women's side....

For those keeping score at home: TEAM Lap Swimmers 2, Team Triathletes 0

The Olympic (.9 mile) race was not as close with local triathlete Brett Lovaas finishing first (14:52) for the men and swimmer Beth Nymeyer for the women (17:52). However, 2nd place by Drea Williams was just 20 seconds ahead of Leanne Johansen and Heather Rose who tied for 3rd place. In the men's Olympic, 2nd and 3rd place were only 5 seconds apart and 4th and 5th place were 4 seconds apart. Wow!

Scoring update after 2 events: Team Lap Swimmers 3, Team Triathletes 1 (Woo-hoo! Finally on the board!)

In the Half IM (1.2 mile) distance, which rumor has it was a few hundred yards shorter than advertised, triathletes Gaby Bunten and Christina Roberts were 1 second apart. Christina shared with me the next day that she was drafting (which is legal, as is wearing a wetsuit, so stop complaining lap swimmers!) off of Gabby, but would have felt badly if she had made a move to pass her. That move apparently paid off because Christina went on to win at Buffalo the next day. Either way, that's 2 points for the triathletes, which makes things all tied up. Here we go into overtime, which ended the triathletes momentum. Swimmer, Seth Baetzold, of River Falls, WI beat out local swimmer Kevin Pollman of St. Louis Park by just 6 seconds, with swimmers Brian Soltis, Stephen Meyer, and more swimmers scoring like it was an empty net. We won't tell you the final score, but just leave it at "the triathletes" put up a fight this year, and made a game out of it. For another year, the lap swimmers proved that they rule the open water!

Thank you to all of the race directors that came out to promote their events, and or donate race entries, including Chisago Tri, Moose Lake Tri, TimberMan, Lake Mtka Tri, GraniteMan, GearWest, MN Masters Swimming, CycleHealth Kids Tri, and MN Multisport.

Director's Note: I forgot to mention at the event on Saturday that this year's race was dedicated to long time open water swimmer, triathlete, lap swimmer, volunteer, and most of all friend, Shannon Swartz, who passed away a few months back. She loved events like the SWIM-Off to Summer, and will be sorely missed!

 - Doobie Kurus