Race Previews

HOLT 2021 Preview...


35th HEART OF THE LAKES TRIATHLON - The 35th edition of this annual classic is happening next Sunday, and once again, promises to be highly competitive event. Below are some predictions and comments based on the early list  of entrants we perused. We do expect other competitive athletes to sign-up.

Long Course:

TED TREISE - Ted hasn't lost to a fellow Minnesotan since procuring his pro license after the 2019 season. He hopes to keep that going at HOLT, but top amateurs DAVID KOPPEL and KYLE SWENSON will make that a difficult task....

Amateur Favorites - DAVID KOPPEL vs KYLE SWENSON -Kyle, the June Athlete of the Month, will face his toughest test this season against Koppel, who has won his last three races, all by chunky margins. David is outriding everyone right now, while Kyle is outrunning the field. This will be a great battle. We aren't prediction a winner, but we do expect Swenson, who won at Timberman Sprint last weekend in a very fast time, to rewrite the junior record, which has stood since 2003. 

And: Since 2016, JOSH MORK has won eight races. He placed 3rd at HOLT in 2019. We predict another  podium for him this weekend. KEVIN O'CONNOR, now 50, is a perennial Top 5 finisher at Heart of the Lakes.

CHRISTINA ROBERTS vs DIANE HANKEE - Diane has a win and three 2nd at HOLT. Christina has three wins, a 2nd a a 3rd. Adding to Robert's advantage is the fact that she beat Hankee at Buffalo last month. Christina shoulld collect her four HOLT victory on Sunday.


COMMENT: We're anxious to see how relative newcomers fare this weekend. We have been impressed with emerging athletes VANESSA NAGEL (2nd at Clearwater Olympic), tri-rookie CAMI ECKHOFF (3rd at Buffalo Sprint, 4th at Clearwater Olympic), and 2019 Rookie of the Year runner-up CARYN HERRICK, whose HOLT debut produced a 3rd place finish.

AG Records:

In races that have been around for deacdes, and have always boasted strong fields, Age Group records become progressively more difficult to set. We do however predict that two will fall on Sunday. As mentioned above, we believe that KYLE SWENSON, 19, will knock a minute or two off Jason Liebsch's stout 1:35:58, set back in 2003. We also expect JAN GUENTHER, 62, to set her 5th (!) divisional record, knocking down a 2:00:02, which has stood since 2013. In 2018, at age 59, Guenther posted a 1:50:37. Breaking 2-hours should be a done deal for Jan, who has rewritten two AG records in as many starts already ths season.


Short Course - 

PETER WIKMAN and KATHERINE JOHNSON are our current picks to win HOLT Sprint. Wikman picked up his first career victory at Clearwater Olympic, and Johnson as distinguished herself at HOLT Long Course (8th in 2018, 12th in 2017). Katherine does not race often, but often cracks the Top 5 when she does. A win on Sunday would e the 2nd of her career. Her first was at Big Lake Olympic in 2018.

In the Age Groups, we expect an interesting battle between teen stars MACY IYER, 17 and NATASHA SORTLAND,16. Macy placed 2nd overall here in 2019, and could repeat that placement on Sunday. Advantage: Iyer.

ED. You might still be able to get in. Go to holtri.org to find out. We hope you will be among the 500 entrants participating this year.