The old adage at the Ironman World Championship is that you can’t win the race in the swim, but you can certainly lose it. That certainly was true this year – in the men’s race, two of the leaders out of the water – Jan Frodeno and Tim O’Donnell – were able to hold off the uber-bikers who were behind after the swim, and stayed in front during the marathon to take the top two spots on the podium.

Lucy Charles-Barclay wasn’t able to duplicate that feat in the women’s race, but after leading out of the water and blasting through the bike to an eight-minute lead, the British star was able to hang on for her third straight runner-up finish. Eventual champion Anne Haug might have trailed Charles-Barclay by five minutes after the swim, but the two-time German Olympian was in the first chase group (6th woman out of the water), which was enough to keep her in the hunt for the title.

Here are some photos from the first leg of the Ironman World Championship – the 3.8 km swim:

The calm before the storm part 1 – a lifeguard gets ready for the swim start.
The calm before the storm part 2 – the lead paddler for the pro men warms up for some hard work ahead …
They’re off – the pro men get started.
This year saw a new format – wave starts for the age group athletes.
Waiting to hit the water – game face on.
Josh Amberger wasted no time going to the front of the men’s race …
… and had two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee on his feet from the gun.
The men’s chase pack found themselves in catch up mode within a few hundred metres.
Lucy Charles-Barclay quickly blasted to the front of the women’s race …
With American Lauren Brandon in tow.
Even the lifeguards are impressed by Charles-Barclay’s impressive swimming!
Olympian Sarah True at the front of the chase group.

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