WINONA LAKE – On a perfect morning to perform, Anthony Klingler and Chris Wickard did what they do best, which at the Warsaw Optimist Triathlon Saturday was dominate the competition.
Klingler, from Coldwater, Mich., made up key ground on the bike portion of the event, riding the fastest time of 32:03 and then busted out a 20:52 3.5-mile run to finish out the win at 1:02:26, almost three minutes ahead of runner-up Brad McCracken. Klingler opened his day with a 7:57 swim, which was only 38th best, but knew his strengths were backloaded.
“I started in the second wave which kind of puts you in a weird position with a group already in the water,” Klingler said immediately after the race. “I knew I just had to push hard. The swimming is my weakest link, but I was able to really crank it on the bike. It was a fair course with good pavement…”
Klingler’s thoughts would end there as he and brother, Mitchell Klingler – who finished fourth overall – took off as their dad, Jeff, arrived in the transition area to begin his transfer from bike to run.
McCracken’s final time was 1:05:16, boosted by a second-place time in the bike portion (32:48) and a sixth-place run of 21:45. Rounding out the top three male performers was Bryan Conger, who clocked in at 1:05:51.
Wickard, from Crown Point, continued her phenomenal showings in Winona Lake, winning the women’s tri for the third year in a row, with Saturday’s best at 1:10:02. And much like the men, the swimming went slower but big showings on the bike and afoot did the trick for the reigning champion.
“Overall, it was a decent race, but I wasn’t looking at today for time,” Wickard said, who parlayed a third-best bike ride of 36:08 and premier 24:26 top run to a title. “I’ve been fighting injuries and this hasn’t been much fun. Today I felt pretty good, and it was a little more enjoyable.
“At 43, it doesn’t matter if I go as fast as the younger girls or not,” Wickard continued. “I was slower this year than last year, and that was slower than the year before. It’s just part of life. The biggest thing in running a triathlon is experience. When you know how to manage all of this, that really helps, where the younger girls don’t have a lot of experience. I’ve lost by a second before, sometimes that is just how it goes. Today, I won.”
Placing second was Cate Kelley, pulling in a final time of 1:11:54 and veteran Diana Schowe was third at 1:15:20. Kelley, who had the top bike time at 35:58, was the first physical female to cross the finish line. But with the tapered swim start, chip times ruled, and with Wickard in another wave of starting swimmers, Wickard’s overall time was best. Kelley was still elated with her performance.
“On the bike, at about mile three I really felt like I got going, ‘there’s only 10 miles left’,” laughed Kelley. “This was just a fun race. There were a bunch of kids in the neighborhood cheering us on. They got so excited when they finally saw a girl go by.”
The 20th annual triathlon, which is put on by the Warsaw Breakfast Optimist Club and its sponsors, had 589 registered participants this year and 505 individuals posting a time along with over a dozen teams also participating. For the first time this year was a mini triathlon for the kids, whom were recognized as a group at the open of the awards ceremony following the conclusion of the racing.
For a complete set of results, visit the Online Race Results page. Photos and video from the triathlon were taken by Mike Deak.
2013 Warsaw Optimist Triathlon – Winona Lake Park
Men’s Top 10
1. Anthony Klingler, Coldwater, MI 1:02:26
2. Brad McCracken, Fort Wayne 1:05:16
3. Bryan Conger, Downers Grove, IL 1:05:51
4. Mitchell Klingler, Coldwater, MI 1:06:18
5. John Polomchak, Crown Point 1:07:28
6. Dirk Pauley, Fort Wayne 1:07:34
7. Matt York, Kokomo 1:07:53
8. Patrick O’Connell, Warsaw 1:08:27
9. John Wilson, Angola 1:08:43
10. Seth Bidlack, Antwerp, OH 1:08:50
Women’s Top 10
1. Chris Wickard, Crown Point 1:10:02
2. Cate Kelley, Indianapolis 1:11:54
3. Diana Schowe, Auburn 1:15:20
4. Kristen Ruble, Monroeville 1:15:35
5. Connie Peterson, Harrisburg, VA 1:16:50
6. Sara Randolph, Sturgis, MI 1:17:16
7. Heather Martin, Elkhart 1:17:56
8. Peggy Hasse, Three Rivers, MI 1:18:33
9. Stephanie Wilson, Chicago, IL 1:21:09
10. Emily Loveless, Fort Wayne 1:21:32