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David Hansen of Super Sprint Events on all things Challenge Melbourne

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The man arguably responsible for launching more age group triathlon careers than anyone else and one of the longest serving race directors in Australia is David Hansen of SuperSprint Events. Based in Melbourne Hansen, along with wife Penny and a great team of dedicated and experienced people, run most of Victoria’s triathlons including the Gatorade Triathlon Series. In addition they have the Nissan Corporate Triathlon Series around Australia. More people have been introduced to triathlon through this event than any other. SuperSprint also runs cycling classics, fun runs etc.

Super Sprint's Captain Triathlon was an exercise in patience for Penny Hanson with lawyers from Marvel Comics involved in the approval process.

Super Sprint’s Captain Triathlon was a hard core event and an exercise in patience for Penny Hanson with lawyers from Marvel Comics involved in the approval process.

In addition to their current event portfolio SuperSprint organised the 2000 Olympic Triathlon, 6 ITU Triathlon World Cups leading up to the Olympics, brought 3 ITU Triathlon Cups to Geelong, staged 5 UCI Women’s Road Cycling World Cups in Geelong, over 10 Australian Championships , Singapore and Fiji Triathlons and more…

For many people outside Victoria and ‘newer’ triathletes SuperSprint will be a company they may know through the corporate triathlon series but most will not know the history behind the company and owners David and Penny. Established in 1986 the Hansen’s are true pioneers in our sport. They have a passion for triathlon and have grown the company over 25 years. Branching out in to other sports such as cycling and running has been a natural expansion for the company.

Securing the Challenge brand for Victoria will give SuperSprint the ability to build on their very strong portfolio of events and compete with other major event companies and brands in our sport in the long distance arena.

The first Challenge event for SuperSprint sold out in one week and the team at are buzzing with what will be their marque triathlon.

We caught up with David Hansen to discuss this exciting new event and find out how some of the challenges will be approached.

TriZone: Congratulations on the launch of Challenge Melbourne and the sell out of the event. This must be an exciting time for SuperSprint.

David Hansen: Yes it was great to get both the event in Melbourne ( our back yard) and the Challenge brand together to provide an exciting event for all the triathletes who have supported our events over the years and for all those from interstate and overseas.

TriZone: What does securing the Challenge brand mean for SuperSprint?

David Hansen: I was always aware of the popularity and success of Roth and in particular when it started with the Challenge brand. Over the last 12 months, I had heard about Felix and what the brand stood for! This is looking after the athletes so it is a brand that has the same philosophies and values SuperSprint has, so to work with them is great!

We also haven’t staged a high profile event for several years so we are really looking forward to delivering a high standard event for all the athletes.

TZ: Does Super Sprint have a license to produce this event or is Challenge Family appointing Super Sprint to manage and run the event?

David: We have a 5 year license to use their brand in Victoria.

TZ: How long did you work with Challenge Family before you could announce the launch of this event?

David: About 3 months with Marcus Altmann and then I met Felix and Victoria the day before the launch.

TZ: Was it always going to happen once you started talks with Challenge Family or were there some stumbling blocks?

Super Sprint CEO David Hansen on the microphone at Falls Creek in 2012

Super Sprint CEO David Hansen on the microphone at Falls Creek in 2012

David: It was always going to happen but along the way you always have some beliefs that may not be shared that get resolved. At the end of the day you both have the same objectives to see a successful event for all parties including the athletes.

TZ: Are there plans at any stage to hold a full iron distance Challenge triathlon in Victoria?

David: No. I think Victoria is at near capacity for triathlons.

TZ: How difficult was it to get full closure of Beach Road for the 15kms?

David: It is very difficult because the impact it has on so many stakeholders from residents, businesses, yacht and lifesaving clubs to motorists and recreational cyclists. We have to reopen Beach Rd at 11.00am and hence the 6.15am race start.

TZ: We are impressed with the format of the race with the multiple lap bike and run course. In its longer format triathlon is not quite an ‘on the edge of your seat’ spectator sport. With the three bike and run laps family, friends and spectators will get to see the athletes many times. This should provide a more exciting atmosphere especially with the pro category.

TZ: With SuperSprint’s experience managing events like the Nissan Corporate Triathlons and we are sure you have a cunning plan for this event. What are your plans to manage the flow of athletes to keep the bike course, in particular, as clear as possible and avoid large packs forming?

David: We are used to having big numbers on the road with many of our Gatorade Triathlon Series races having 2 laps of a 10km bike course with up to 1,500 on the course at anyone time. The TO’s do a reasonably good job managing that but I think with less numbers on a 30km loop it will be even better managed.

The key is to have good TO’s that are strict but fair! Within the first week of the event launch, we commenced discussions with a number of TO’s and Triathlon Victoria about the option of pulling over any packs that may form and letting them go off at 10 sec intervals and they still have to serve a time penalty as well.

I think it also helps greatly when athletes assist in the policing by pointing out to other athletes that drafting is cheating. It is disappointing when some athletes see it as part of their race strategy to get a good time.

TZ: Will the pros have a relatively free passage on the bike and run?

Interviewing the 2012 winner of the 2XU Falls Creek Australian Long Course Champion Tim Reed

Interviewing the 2012 winner of the 2XU Falls Creek Australian Long Course Champion Tim Reed

David: Yes. I believe so. We are lucky that Beach Rd is 4 lanes and a clearway in the mornings so no parked cars will be on the course. The run paths are relatively wide for most points of the run course as well to allow easy passing.

TZ: Will the race be broadcast live online and later on Australian television?

David: Yes it is the plan but there is a lot of work to do with sponsors to make this happen.

TZ: We have to ask… Was this pay back to USM for putting the Geelong Long Course onto your Falls Creek Australian Championship weekend in 2012?

David: No, not at all. This was about an opportunity to use one of our established event weekends to see that we received some benefit from Ironman being staged in Melbourne. In the past 2 years all we have seen is our numbers drop in our local races as so many of our competitors we have brought into the sport have taken the opportunity to race Ironman Melbourne. I think is great for the athlete to race in their hometown and be supported by their family, friends and work colleagues for what is a significant achievement.

Long course is more popular now and we have received so much support from our athletes for the Challenge Melbourne event so in many ways it is meeting a demand for what they want.

If you want to go into USM taking our Geelong event which was our flagship event for 21 years, that is another story!

TZ: Can I ask you about that at another time?

David: Yeah, no problem

TZ: What will the professional prize purse be?

David: $25,000 Euro or about $32,000

TZ: Have you secured any professional triathletes for the race as yet?

David: Chris McCormack and Belinda Granger are ambassadors for Challenge and it is great to have them race. It will be a strong elite field. The last time Macca raced in one of our events was back in 2000 in the Test event for the Olympic Games.

It was great to catch up with him at the launch after so many years and what a credit and great ambassador he has been to the Sport and his sponsors. I don’t think triathlon has ever seen such a marketable person who has achieved so much in the Sport. I just have to take him surfing at Bells or Winki after the event and I’m sure Clayton Fettell who is also racing will probably want to join us as well! It will be a strong elite field.

TriZone: Thanks for your time David. We look forward to seeing the event first hand in 2014.

 

You can find out more about SuperSprint Events by clicking here

Challenge Melbourne

 

 

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.

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Super League: Corporate Mix Teams Hungry for the Lead

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The run course along the Elizabeth Marina board walk. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

In the second day of Super League Jersey Corporate Mix racing, Team Comprop is once again leading the rankings, its members coming out firing on all cylinders to win the team relay race against 16 other teams from nine corporate entities. First Names Group Team 2 and the Ravenscroft Titans followed across the finish line, maintaining the top three overall. Like in Day 1, the competition was held over the Sprint Pursuit format, which involves racing over a 300-meter swim around the Elizabeth Marina, a 5-kilometer cycle leg on a cobblestoned and technical course and a 2-kilometer run done over two stages with a pursuit-style start in Stage 2.

Team Comprop is still in the lead after two days of racing. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Team Comprop and First Names Group Team 2 took first and second respectively in both Sprint Pursuit stages, but the Jersey Triathlon Club Junior Team 1 put up a brave fight to take third in Stage 1. The Ravenscroft Titans had a slow start off the blocks and crossed the Stage 1 line in ninth place, but made up for their deficit and recovered third place in Stage 2.

The Corporate Mix overall win relies on the total of a team’s points garnered from their relay finish position and the points from their pro male and female athletes’ finish positions. Team Comprop has pro men’s leader Kristian Blummenfelt on its roster while First Names Group Team 2 has women’s leader Katie Zaferes, and if both athletes hold their form, they will deliver the top two spots in the Corporate Mix to their teams.

Both teams from Santander International may have a chance to rise higher in the overall rankings with better finishes today than yesterday. Their pro athletes Fernando Alarza and Carolina Routier will certainly do their best to better yesterday’s results in their Eliminator races later today. The Eliminator will put them through three stages of swim-bike-run, with only the fastest 15 and then the fastest 10 getting through to the next stages. It will remain to be seen whether they can get to finish and earn those all-important series points.

Corporate Mix swimmers line up for their pontoon start. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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Recovery Smoothie – Supercharged Green and Berry Smoothie

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Photo: Shutterstock

After a long hard workout I like to get fueled right away. I find it easiest for me to get down a smoothie rather than solid food. By making a smoothie I am able to pack it full of nutrient dense foods. Below is my “go to” –

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Green & Berry Super Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Coconut water
  • 8 oz Hemp milk
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 6 leaves Tuscan Kale
  • ½ Gold beet large
  • ½ nugget of fresh turmeric root
  • 1 serving Favorite plant based protein powder I use Vega Performance protein berry flavor for this
  • 2 tbsp Chia seed
  • 1 tbsp Acai powder
  • 1 tbsp Maca powder
  • 1 tbsp Spirulina
  • 4 large ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a high power blender such as Vita mix. Process until smooth. Consistency can be adjusted with cold water as you are processing.

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Super League: Katie Zaferes stuns in Triple Mix on Day 1

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Katie Zaferes of the USA stunned dual Olympic medalist Nicola Spirig at the inaugural Super League Triathlon women’s race in Jersey, Channel Islands. The ascendant American was never too far off the front throughout, and took the overall win with a 19-second lead over the speedy Swiss. Compatriot Summer Cook rounded out the first women’s podium for the revolutionary race series. Triple Mix is a three-stage race with a 10-minute break between stages and a pursuit-style start in Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 1: Swim-Bike-Run

Carolina Routier, Sophie Coldwell, and Emma Jeffcoat found clear water off the pontoon start and came out of the 300-meter swim together, but most of the athletes emerged together to form a huge chase pack which swallowed the lead swimmers once on the bike leg.

Coldwell and British compatriot Jodie Stimpson worked to put pressure through the first few laps of the five-kilometer bike ride. With the field splintering between a large front group and solo athletes trying to bridge the gap, those off the back fell victim to the 90-second elimination rule. Sameera Al Bitar found herself more than 90 seconds behind the lead athlete and was forced to retire partway through the bike.

Pontoon start for the Women’s Triple Mix Stage 1 of Super League in Jersey. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Stimpson, Coldwell, and Claire Michel of Belgium came off the bike together, but with the athletes so close together, Spirig emerged out front with Zaferes right on her shoulders. Summer Cook managed to stay in contention despite struggling with the technical bike course, while Lucy Hall and Mariya Shorets were eliminated after the bike leg.

During the two-kilometer run, Michel, Spirig, and Zaferes took turns out front, but it was Michel who took the tape ahead of Spirig and Zaferes. Cook ran herself into fourth.

Stage 2: Run-Bike-Swim

With only 10 minutes to recover before starting another two-kilometer run and only seconds separating the lead three women, it didn’t take long for Zaferes to move up front. However, Spirig, Cook, and Michel came with her surge to create a 20-second gap to chasers Stimpson, Coldwell, and Rachel Klamer.

Jodie Stimpson, Sophie Coldwell, and Rachel Klamer run as a chase group. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Spirig put pressure on and gapped the leaders with her trademark bike power and great handling, but after a while Zaferes answered the surge. Apparently, Zaferes had thought one of her tires had gone flat, but once confirmed that was not the case, she confidently rode back onto Spirig’s back wheel before taking the front into transition.

Zaferes made sure to hit the water ahead of Spirig, and her stellar technique ensured she crossed the Stage 2 finish line first.

Thanks to the gap the two had created to the rest of the field, an additional seven women were eliminated, while Laura Lindemann took a nasty bike spill but was able to continue.

Stage 3: Bike-Swim-Run

The Swiss-American tandem played tag team throughout the opening bike leg, maintaining their lead while a race for third happened behind them. Coldwell teamed up with Kirsten Kasper to leave the rest of the field, but once the race entered the water the athletes bunched up again while Zaferes and Spirig stayed clear.

Out onto the run, Zaferes began stretching her legs and her lead to Spirig, who was never able to reclaim the front. The former collegiate track star made the final few hundred meters of the run look easy, celebrating into the finish chute.

Katie Zaferes and Nicola Spirig riding hard. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

“When I first got on the bike I was a little off technically with the corners, but I got more comfortable and moved up and was happy with how the race progressed as it got on,” Zaferes said. “The swim feels as horrible as all the boys told us it did, so at least I was prepared for that and didn’t panic. I felt nervous especially after having raced last weekend, but I felt good. I really hope to approach tomorrow just like I did today and hope the same result comes away from it, but Day 2 gets significantly harder. I’ll go for it for sure though.”

It has been only a few months since Spirig gave birth to her second child, but today’s race showed she is still one of the most fearsome athletes to contend with on any starting line. She said, “Thank you very much for all the support from all of you. It has been great being here. I was just, it was amazing, I had good fun and I hope I’m a bit of an inspiration for all moms.”

Meanwhile, Cook used her stellar run to take herself into third place overall, the youngest on the Triple Mix podium. She said, “I’m feeling really good about today, I wasn’t sure about what to expect coming in; I felt like it could go either way. I was really proud of myself to just go out there and compete, not be afraid to put myself close to the front and just race my hardest. I haven’t really thought about tactics going into tomorrow yet. I’m kind of just trying to stay in the moment today and focus on what I needed to do. I guess I’ll have some thinking about a strategy to do tonight.”

There is one more day of racing to go to claim the first Super League Triathlon women’s trophy. These athletes will have to give it their all to stay on top. The Eliminator awaits, and only the fastest will survive.

Jodie Stimpson, Sophie Coldwell, and Rachel Klamer run as a chase group. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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Super League: Kristian Blummenfelt takes out the Triple Mix on Day 1

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Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway blasted away in the final half-kilometer to finish the overall winner for today’s Triple Mix at Super League Jersey after staying out in front all day with South Africa’s Richard Murray and British crowd favorite and dual Olympic medalist Jonathan Brownlee.

Triple Mix is a three-stage race with a 10-minute break between stages and a pursuit-style start in Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 1: Swim-Bike-Run

While Jake Birtwhistle received pole position on the pontoon at yesterday’s slot draw and led out of the 300-meter swim that kicked off Stage 1, Brownlee was right on his shoulder and got the jump out of transition onto the 5-kilometer bike leg. After five laps over the flat yet technical YESSS Power bike course going over cobblestones and through tight dead turns, the Australian contingent of Birtwhistle, Matt Hauser, and Aaron Royle took the lead. It was on the run where Brownlee, Blummenfelt, and Murray asserted the dominance that would mark the rest of the race regardless of what order swimming, biking, and running would take.

Pontoon start of Triple Mix Stage 1 of the Super League triathlon in Jersey. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Blummenfelt finished the two-kilometer run in first, with Murray and Brownlee in close pursuit. Olympic Bronze medalist Henri Schoeman came in a distant fourth as the rest of the field splintered into smaller chase groups.

Stage 2: Run-Bike-Swim

After a 10-minute break, the pursuit-based start for Stage 2 sent the top three off on the run with an 11-second lead. In the hands of these fleet-footed athletes those 10 seconds quickly ballooned to call into play the 90-second elimination rule. With a time gap of greater than 90 seconds to the leader, Ben Shaw was eliminated unceremoniously, as were Dan Halksworth, Crisanto Grajales Valencia, and Joao Pereira.

After a 10-minute break, the pursuit-based start for Stage 2 sent the top three off on the run with an 11-second lead. In the hands of these fleet-footed athletes those 10 seconds quickly ballooned to call into play the 90-second elimination rule. With a time gap of greater than 90 seconds to the leader, Ben Shaw was eliminated unceremoniously, as were Dan Halksworth, Crisanto Grajales Valencia, and Joao Pereira.

Jonathan Brownlee on the run. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Once on their bikes, Blummenfelt, Murray, and Brownlee worked together to grow a monstrous lead with clear road behind them. Still joined at the hip by the time they jumped back into the water, Brownlee surged ahead by a few strokes leaving Murray to chase him through the finish chute. Schoeman kept fourth place with a great swim after slipping backwards in the bike pack, while reigning world champion Mario Mola crept up into sixth.

Stage 3: Bike-Swim-Run

The final stage of Triple Mix started with the bike leg. With the big three once again out in front, the stage saw a few more eliminated by the 90-second rule including pre-race swim favorite Richard Varga and world number five Fernando Alarza. Ben Dijkstra crashed out on the bike leg, leaving British hopes entirely in the capable hands of Brownlee.

Once into the swim, the three men played tactical, holding positions with Brownlee out in front, Murray sitting on his feet, and Blummenfelt just a little further back. The race would be decided on the run.

It was Blummenfelt who had a bit more gas in the tank as he and Murray dueled through the run leg; ultimately, the Norwegian sprinted ahead for the day’s win. Their race-within-a-race relegated Brownlee to third place, while Schoeman held strong in fourth.

The peloton rides past during the bike leg of the Triple Mix on Day 1 of Super League in Jersey. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

“It feels so good. Especially Murray he’s really strong on the run so I wasn’t really sure of a way to get him but super pleased. I think the fact that we started the next stage with a gap played a huge role. We went hard in the beginning and kept going and worked well together,” said Blummenfelt, who is third in the year-end world rankings. “My plan was actually to stay a little bit more calm in the first stage but it’s too hard with this many people around cheering you on. I didn’t plan to go that hard in the beginning but seems the day played out well.”

Brownlee, a first-time racer in the Super League Triathlon formats, had a bit of adjusting to do. He said, “I took out the start in the first swim and it was full on and we had to keep going. And then I made a mistake there towards the end and it cost me the race… I’m really tired but I’ve got to do it all again tomorrow. I had the advantage of a home crowd, and it’s great to see lots of Jersey people around supporting me, so thank you.”

Defending champion Murray did not lack in taking his chances on the day. “I realized it was a four-kilometer run on the trot and I decided that was the moment to try and go for it today. Luckily I had these two men next to me to come with and it was definitely a really hard day. It was my first breakaway ever and the crowd was amazing and it’s very hard to be in a breakaway so kudos to the guys who do it every race,” he said. “Blummenfelt managed to get the better of me today but it was great from these two guys.”

Blummenfelt now sits atop the point standings with 25 points. Murray is four points behind at 21, while Brownlee has gained 18. This gives them plenty of wiggle room to take out the overall win tomorrow after the Eliminator, but as today’s race has showed, you need to race every stage like you want to win it.

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Wahoo Fitness Announces Partnership with Superstar Jan Frodeno

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Wahoo bolsters its elite athlete program with the addition of two-time Ironman World Champion and Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno

Wahoo Fitness, the leader in workout apps and connected fitness devices, has just announced an official partnership with Olympic champion and two-time Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno. Given the unique, multi-sport training requirements of triathlon, the Wahoo product ecosystem is perfectly tailored to maximize efforts and enhance the performance of all triathletes, including those competing at the world’s most elite levels, like Frodeno.

As an official partner, Wahoo’s complete ecosystem of innovative products will be supporting Frodeno’s training efforts. This includes the dual-band TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor, the powerful and aerodynamic ELEMNT BOLT GPS cycling computer, and Wahoo’s acclaimed indoor stationary smart bike trainer; the KICKR, whose signature flywheel technology replicates the smooth feel of the road. Rounding out the Wahoo ecosystem is the groundbreaking new KICKR CLIMB, a grade simulator which enables Frodeno to replicate the resistance and grade changes found on the profiles of real-world TT courses, providing a competitive edge unmatched by any other indoor trainer.

Frodeno, like other Wahoo athletes including Tour de France-winning Team Sky, will play a key role by providing direct input into the design and development of future Wahoo products ensuring they are tailored to meet the needs of the most demanding professional athletes. This valuable insight will help ensure Wahoo products continue to remain best-in-class for triathletes with the highest performance standards.

“I’ve always considered myself a Wahooligan, as I’ve been using Wahoo products to support my training efforts for many years, but now I’m happy to say it’s official,” says Wahoo’s newest athlete Jan Frodeno. “It’s very important to me that the brand cares about delivering a seamless user experience between each of its products – and Wahoo’s full ecosystem suits my training needs perfectly, enabling me to train with greater efficiency than ever before,” continues Frodeno.

“We’re extremely proud to introduce such an incredible athlete to the ‘Wahooligan’ family,” says Chip Hawkins, Wahoo Fitness CEO. “It’s long been Wahoo’s mission to support the performance of athletes at all levels, and our product ecosystem is uniquely positioned to provide a truly comprehensive, connected training experience for discerning weekend warriors and elite triathletes like Frodeno who demand nothing but the absolute best.”

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First-ever Super League Triathlon Corporate Mix draws competitive local teams

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The first-ever Super League Triathlon Corporate Mix commenced this morning in Jersey with Team Comprop finishing out front, followed by the Ravenscroft Titans and First Names Group Team 2 in second and third place in a thrilling sprint finish. With 17 teams from nine different corporate entities competing, the Corporate Mix has allowed the local community and businesses to be part of what has become one of Jersey’s biggest sporting events. Local teams were in fact among the most competitive, with the top six fastest teams coming from the Channel Islands.

Comprop is a leading privately owned property developer of both commercial and residential sites in Jersey and Guernsey. Its corporate mix team is composed of some of Jersey’s most dedicated athletes including pro coach Nick Saunders and full-time triathlete Ollie Turner.

After assessing the course and the safety needs of what were largely age-group participants, race officials decided to change the Corporate Mix run course to follow the pier, instead of taking place on the same section of road as the bike course since not all cyclists would be off the course by the time the first runners would start.

Officials also implemented the Sprint Pursuit format instead of the planned Enduro (nonstop swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run). The Sprint Pursuit involved two stages of swim-bike-run with ten minutes of rest between stages. At the start of the second stage, swimmers were released by the previous stage’s finish order as well as the time gaps between their team finishes.

Though out for the rest of the season due to hip surgery, Alistair Brownlee found a way to be a part of Super League Jersey, pinch-hitting as a swimmer for the MaccaNOW Foundation team. It was one very special highlight not just for the Corporate Mix competitors to swim alongside the dual Olympic gold medalist, but also for the Jersey locals who thronged the barricades to join the festivities and spectate.

While Team Comprop currently rules the leaderboard, the corporate teams’ final standing today will be determined by how their sponsored championship athletes perform in the men’s and women’s races happening later.

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