Race Coverage

Heather and Curt Are Back! Kyle is the Real Deal...


LAKE MINNETONKA TRIATHLON COVERAGE - Heather and Curt are back! Kyle is the Real Deal! Henry is on the Rookie of the Year radar! These are some of the storylines defining last Saturday's Lake Minnetonka Triathlon, which as always was an excellent event.

Let's start with HEATHER LENDWAY's triumphant return to triathlon after a four-year hiatus. She performed like the  Heather of yesteryear; like the Athlete of the Decade Heather.

Where was the rust? Your guess is as good as ours.

Her swim was the third fastest of the day, just seconds behind the men's leaders. After crushing the bike, she entered T2 in fourth place overall behind the eventual men's podium. A great run split (18:44 / 3-mile) eventually landed her in 5th place overall. She was only passed by one male athlete, a former college track and cross country star at UMD named HENRY JESSEN, who is also a decorated swimmer, and, according to our research,  has done only one prior triathlon. If this is true, we have our current frontrunner for 2021 Rookie of the Year.

Back to Heather. Placing 5th overall, her time was a ridiculous 1:07:57, a clocking that is second only to the course record 1:04:53 she set in 2014, the year she won both Nationals and Worlds and was named US Athlete of the Year. ...

Throwing down personal bests on Saturday were the 2nd and 3rd place women, MAGGIE SWANSON (1:13:18- photo below) and OLIVIA MELHORN (1:14:33), both of whom are former Rookie of the Year nominees who have podoimed here in the past.

CURT WOOD was a rising start when he retired from triathlon more than a decade ago. Known for his Craig Walton-esque swim/bike prowess, he was the guy who set the pace in many of our region's most competitive races prior to 2010. Like Heather, he had his gender's fastest swim and bike splits. Unlike Heather, the amiable 6'5"Wood, who at 42, looks exactly like he did when he was 27, his lead out of the bike-to-run wasn't enough to hold off the men who would relegate him to the bronze medal position, which nevertheless demonstrated a triumphant and satisfying return to the sport for Wood. 


The guys that would overtake him are two of our state's hottest athletes right now, one has been runner-up of Triathlete of the Year for the last two seasons, the other who, though only 19, appears to be poised to secure a 2021 TOY nomination. His 2021 resume currently boasts two wins and a second. That young man is KYLE SWENSON, who became the first junior male triathlete to win a race of LMT's stature. His 2021 resume currently boasts two wins and a second.

Wood was 54-seconds in the run when JOSH MORK, a two-time runner-up at LMT, left T2. It appeared that the race for first would be close. 

Kyle Swenson exited transition next. He was 54-seconds behind Mork, double that behind Wood. He could have cruised to a solid 3rd placel finish in a time that crushed the AG record he set here in 2019, or he could dial in some 5:30s and pick the leaders off one-by-one. He needed speed, and he also needed patience.

He demonstrated both qualities and did indeed manage to overtake Mork and Wood en route to his big victory. His 1:05:40 lowered the junior CR by a whopping 5:03.

Swenson's AG record was the first of five that were set last Saturday. Here are the others:

40-44M - CURT WOOD - 1:07:04 (Prior Mark - John Shelp - 1:07:35 - 2021)

60-64W - JAN GUENTHER - 1:23:03 (Prior Mark - Helen Gunther - 1:30:39 - 2017)

65-69W - MEGAN WEBSTER - 1:35:09 (Prior Mark- Connie Foster - 1:41:23 - 2016)

70-74M - ED RYMER (FL) - 1:29:46 (Prior Mark - Tom Couillard - 1:43:01 - 2019)

The 17th edition of the Lake Minnetonka Triathlon registered 500 athletes, of which 383 finished the race. Weather was clear, mild and breezy. There were lots of newbies, including a young woman who managed to crack her gender's overall Top 10. Her name is ELIZABETH SWARTOUT, nicknamed "Betsy Nine Toes" by Lang Hunt, who is a HOOT and is rocking the Matthew McComaughey look these days. Deathly afraid of open water swimming, Ms. Toes somehow found the the courage to take the plunge at LMT. She ultimately placed 10th overall, 2nd in her AG, and though still trepidacious about lake swimming she is totally hooked on the sport and has already signed up for several races. 

We love those kind of stories!  LMT RESULTS