Ironman swimmers in rough water

Ironman swimmer at Sand Hollow Reservoir. | Photo by Todd Tischler, St. George News

HURRICANE – The 2012 Ironman St. George got underway this morning on a nice glassy lake with the pro-division starting at 6:45 a.m. The age division started at 7 a.m.

The triathletes soon found out why the city is named Hurricane. At roughly 7:02 a.m. and out of nowhere the wind started to blow between 15-20 mp. Within a matter of minutes there were two foot white caps on the water.

Boats at Sand Hollow retrieving swimmers from the water. | Photo by Todd Tischler, St. George News.

The pro’s seemed to just power their way through the waves, especially Meredith Kessler from San Francisco. She was the third competitor out of the water and the  first woman.

For the age division things were more difficult.

“You couldn’t even see the course markers the waves were so big and we were headed straight into the wind” said Annette Caruso, competitor no. 383.

A handful of spectators said competitors were being taken out in boat-loads.

Ironman employees and boat safety personal said they had never seen the swimming portion with waves likes that before.

They were exhausted from picking competitors out of the water all morning.

Top Men’s Swim:
Thurston, Heath – 00:52:30
Twelsiek, Maik – 00:52:42
Hoffman, Ben – 00:52:44
McDonald, Chris – 00:56:32
Nelson, Kirk – 00:58:00
Vondracek, Jesse – 00:58:47
O’Meara, Adam – 00:58:47
Gerlach, Thomas – 00:59:19
Sheeks, Matthew – 01:04:09

Top Women’s Swim:
Kessler, Meredith – 00:52:42
Smith, Jessica – 00:58:12
Young, Erin 36 – 01:09:11
Bromme, Uli – 01:09:11
Donavan, Jessie – 01:18:51
Spitler, Erin – 01:19:37

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twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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  • WTF May 6, 2012 at 12:33 am

    International visitors to the area for Ironman…The town near Sand Hollow Reservoir is named Hurricane, yes like Hurricane Katrina, but pronounced locally as Hurricun Lol.

  • Jon Madrid May 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I was a competitor in the Ironman on Saturday in St. George, and I can say that those waves were not two feet. They were much larger than that. They completely enveloped me, and race officials told me that over four hundred got yarded from the water…..not forty, nor even two hundred like what has been reported. We will see what the numbers are, when, and if, the official numbers come out. I was one that got pulled from the water, but was allowed to continue onto the bike. The winds actually pushed me to a stop. It might be noteworthy to mention my average 50 mile split doing the Veyo Loop [plus some] is 3:04, and 100 miles in the 6:30’s [2 plus loops]. I live here and train on that loop and it took 4hrs to go 49 miles on Saturday. The information that is being handed out is inaccurate all around. I would imagine that the total DNF rate was anywhere from 40 to 50%.

  • mimdy May 7, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I can affirm also that the waves were not 2 feet! I was a volunteer on a boat. The waves were more like 5 feet tall and our boat began to fill with water! Eventually our pump that pumps water out of the boat stopped working which caused the engine to stop. The water was so bad and the swells were so big that we could not even get our boat out of the water or to the dock. We ended up beaching the boat on the shore. I feared for my own life let alone all the athletes still in the water. We felt so helpless because so many boats broke down and there were still so many people left in the water. These people truely are strong, amazing athletes and I consider them all iron men!

    • San May 7, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Sounds horrible, based on the comments. God was with you guys.

  • wyomingswimmer May 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

    In the land of “waters meant for irrigaten/not recreaten” the swim at 2012 St. George Ironman was a true adventure!! Even though I swam thru 5 foot waves my goal time of 1 hr. and 5min. was abtained!!! It made my 3rd ST. George Ironman a life time memory.

  • Molly McButter May 7, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Wow – I did a sprint tri in FL with 6-8 ft seas and it was exhausting. Luckily that was only a quarter mile! I swore I’d never do another ocean swim again, but it sounds like it’s no better in a reservoir!

  • Jerry May 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I can affirm what the two people said above about the waves. I turned the first corner and a lady was screaming help me, help me. I stopped and realized I was in the bottom of a trough; to my right and in the air above me was a rescue boat that couldn’t get to her very well because of the waves. When I crawled out of the water on my first real open water swim, I felt like wow, I just accomplished something today. Reports so far show 50 percent dnf. I have much respect for those awesome athletes that made it the rest of the way. I stopped in Gunlock and had a burger! lol…..yeah for the SAG wagon and salute’s to you who finished, you truly are iron-men (and women)!

  • Dan McCluskey May 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I want to validate what i Have read above. I have been a water person my whole life. Lifeguarding the Oceans many Hawaiis. It was a very very tough swim. forget stroke mechanics it was really tough to focus and get your breathing timed right. The spray seemed to be everywhere like there was a hellicopter flying right above you.. Well Done Everyone!!!! I saw some 4 foot waves for sure though it was time to go body surfing many times and thought we all might just start doing that..

  • That day will forever be etched into my mind – it was truly epic!!

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