All eyes were on the Asia-Pacific region this weekend as Jodie Swallow and Caroline Steffen took silver in Phuket and Western Sydney.
Swallow endured long-haul flights from her home base in Stellenbosch, South Africa with partner James Cunnama to get to Thailand for Challenge Laguna Phuket, but the Brit pulled up well with the race’s fastest swim through the unique sea and lagoon course and the fastest bike split over Phuket’s legendary steep hills. It was only the hard-charging run split of Swiss Simone Braendli that prevented Swallow’s complete domination of the race.
Swallow said, “James and I came to Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest because we had heard about its epicness and it certainly delivered. I had a good one, but a flying Swiss got me in the last kilometre. Second is good based on very basic early season training and I loved the race and its 22% climbs.”
Cunnama came away with 5th place, while Bahrain Endurance Racing Team member Domenico Passuello placed 8th, each taking a portion of the 25,000 Euro prize pot paid 10 deep.
Meanwhile, Steffen chose to stay close to home, racing Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney. The expected showdown with Annabel Luxford materialized, with Steffen having had the upper hand in their two previous battles in Cairns and Sunshine Coast. The two women exited the swim almost side-by-side, but this time the Australian put down the hammer halfway through the bike course to finally get the better of the Swiss Warrior Princess.
Steffen said, “It has been a great year, and Annabel raced really strongly today. She’s a great athlete.”
Next weekend, Swallow and Steffen will go up against teammate Daniela Ryf to vie for the gold at the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship in Bahrain.