CANCUN, MEXICO – THE USA, and more specifically, Southern California, were well represented at the ITU World Aquathon Championships in Cancun, Mexico, as Michael Collins and Julie Swail were the overall champions in the age group division race.
Collins coaches Masters swimming for the Novaquatics Swim Team in Orange County, CA, and is the former webmaster for SwimInfo.com, while Swail is the women's water polo coach at UC Irvine and a silver medalist from the 2000 Olympics in water polo. Collins and Swail trained together for the event on several occasions in the last few weeks.
The race consisted of a 2.5k run -1k swim – 2.5k run. Collins finished in 34:22, 46 seconds ahead of the next male to cross the line, Hugo Sanchez of Mexico (35:06). Swail finished in 35:40, and was 1:45 clear of the next woman, Claudia Beristian of Mexico (37:25).
"I was really happy with the result," Michael Collins said. "I was a bit concerned with the heat and humidity, but I made it through all right. Luckily, I didn't have to push too hard at the end to hold the lead."
Collins finished the first run in 7th place but took the lead before the halfway mark on the swim. He used his swimming strength to leave the water with nearly a one minute lead, which he maintained through most of the second run before shutting it down a bit into the finish. Swail came into the first transition in second, just a few steps behind Beristian, but quickly took the lead in the swim and was well out sight of all the woman as she began the second run.
"I need to save up a little for the triathlon next week. It's going to be much tougher in that race since we don't start until 11:30am and the race will take about two hours instead of just over 30 minutes."
Swail looked unchallenged in the race and should be a serious contender both in the 30-34 age group, as well as for the overall amateur title in the triathlon on Saturday.
Other Southern Californians to do well included Todd Menzel of Newport Beach, first in 30-34, Dan Neyenhuis of Corona del Mar, second in 55-59, Karen Mastro of San Dimas, third in 45-49, and Allison Garland of Aliso Viejo, fifth in 30-34.