Summer may be the time when Floridians tend to kick back and slow down, but don't tell that to the more than 800 triathletes who turned out Saturday at Fort De Soto for the Top Gun Triathlon.
Matthew Greene, 23, of Gainesville finished the quarter-mile swim, 10-mile bike and 3.1-mile run in 49.31 to take first, 43 seconds ahead of the runnerup.
The fastest local man was St. Petersburg's Kerry Sullivan, 26, who crossed the line at 52:25, fifth overall. The fastest female was 21-year-old Alex Lechner of Clearwater, who covered the course in 53:52.
Local male age-group winners included John-Gerard Farese, 13, St. Petersburg, 1:00:29; Andrew Canning, 21, St. Petersburg, 53:10; Daniel Chechele, 49, St. Petersburg, 55:37; Charles Lohman, 62, St. Petersburg, 1:07:01; and Charles Lasley, 87, Belleair, 2:01:04. In the Clydesdale division, Rick Downs, 42, of Redington Beach, was the fastest among the 40-and-over crowd, finishing in 1:02:59.
Local female age-group winners included Taylor Scott, 14, St. Petersburg, 1:07:41; Brittany Whitelock, 24, St. Petersburg, 1:02:27; Erin Kowal, 35, North Redington Beach, 1:00:20; Renee Tillwick, 47, St. Petersburg, 1:03:18; Clare Kelley, 53, St. Petersburg, 1:11:28; Kathy Dodd, 56, Clearwater, 1:10:57; and Sandy Guenzel, 65, Largo, 1:33:24. The female master's champion was Kathy Frailing, 41, of Belleair, who finished in 55:37. In the Athena division, St. Petersburg's Linae Boehme-Terrana, 35, placed first among those 39 and younger in 1:23:33.
The fastest male relay team was M and N (Nolan Johnson, David Johnson, Michael Hoffman Jr.), which finished in 1:13:01. The fastest female relay team was the AKA Girls (Ann Avst, Alex Contreres, Kim Slesinski) in 1:07:13. The winning mixed relay team was Spokes Cycling (Steve Class, Jen Folio, Reed Haley) in 58:12.
Clearwater Beach held the third installment of the Sunsets at Pier 60 5K race series Friday night, and St. Petersburg's Wes Reynolds, 17, took home the gold for the third time in a row.
Reynolds won in 17:11, sevens seconds ahead of runnerup Thomas McGrath, 17, of Largo, but nine seconds off his best time of 17:02, set July 18. McGrath, meanwhile, shaved 24 seconds off his last time. Rounding out the top three was Keith Sawayda, 45, of Clearwater, who finished in 17:38.
Among females, Christa Benton, 24, of St. Petersburg added another win in 18:04 — her third win in the series, but 11 seconds off her June 20 time of 17:53.
Rounding out the top three were 17-year-old Madalyn Stills of Clearwater in 21:17 and 29-year-old Sara Hutchins of Columbia, S.C., in 21:30
Paddleboarding, once just the realm of lifeguards and surfers, has gone mainstream, with endurance athletes using the surfboards as an alternative training method to swimming.
Traditionally, the world's top paddleboarders have come from California and Hawaii, but in recent years, Floridians have made themselves known.
J.P. Atherholt, supervisor for the Clearwater Beach Recreation Complex, has emerged as the king of Florida paddleboards. Atherholt, 39, who is also a top open-water swimmer and outrigger canoe paddler, won the 6-mile unlimited class race at East Coast Paddleboard Championships at Ponce Inlet on July 26 in 1:00:13.
It was Atherholt's third victory of the season (he won the Florida State Paddleboard Championships on March 23 and the Key West Paddleboard Classic on June 22), which earned him the coveted Florida Triple Crown.
Largo's John Sedley, a 32-year-old lifeguard for Clearwater Beach Safety, was second in 1:01:00. Dave Robertshaw of Indian Rock Beach finished 15th overall in 1:21:42. Tampa's Chris Lang won the stock class in 1:08:55, and Largo's Mike Hofstetter was second in 1:13:38.
Atherholt and Sedley also recently competed in the U.S. Paddleboard Championships in Redondo Beach, Calif., finishing ninth and 11th, respectively, in their age groups.
Clearwater Aquatics placed fourth at the recent Florida Swimming Junior Olympics in Gainesville. Macy Marshburn was first in the 10-and-under girls 50 breaststroke, second in the 100 breast and third in the 50 backstroke. In the 10-and-under boys, Grant Sanders placed first in five of six events. In 13-14 girls, Kelsey Buckley won two gold medals (50 and 100 free).
Do you have running, swimming, biking, triathlon or adventure racing news? Send it to Terry Tomalin at [email protected] or call (727) 893-8808. You can also submit news online at community.tampabay.com.