Hundreds of harp seals in brightly colored bathing caps waddled and trudged through the soft sand a half-mile north of the Delaware Seashore State Park bathhouse for the start of the Dewey Beach Sprint Triathlon.
The event was a half-mile ocean swim followed by a 15-mile bike and ending with a 3.5-mile run. The Dewey Triathlon is advertised as being easygoing and light-hearted, and the competitors showed they got the memo, most smiling throughout except when underwater.
The incoming high tide washed over all “feet don’t fail me now” and the ocean was warm but choppy and sloppy with a screaming current on the aft of all swimmers.
The inexperienced athletes were squeezed into heavy-gauge, petroleum-based 12-ply rubber that would get a real deal seal to exclaim, ”That dude must be hot. What’s he doing, swimming the Bering Strait?”
The countdown for the green heads in wave two reached 15 seconds as Jared Tootell, the eventual winner, looked like he was in transcendental meditation
“I try to internalize so I have a calmer approach to competition, but inside I am ready to roll,” Tootell said after winning the race.
"The swimming was super fast. I was in the second wave but got back to the transition area first after the bike, so I was really surprised about that. The strongest part of my race is running followed by swimming; the bike is always a challenge. The run, you're tired, and it was out into the wind, but once you turn around it’s like coming out of a slingshot; it was great. “
Tootell can run 16:30 for a 5K on fresh legs, just to give perspective to his talent. Some top local finishers among the 382 men were Darin Slade 7, Lance Fargo 8, Rick Brokaw 20, Jim Elder 28, Erik Farinas 32, and Bruce Clayton 86.
Fargo, 47, is the reigning national champion triathlete in the Clydesdale Division, and when it comes to cross fitness, Lance is a freak in a good way.
Tracy Maccherola, 50, of Woolford, Md., was the women’s winner fronting 256 women. Local women with top performances included Caitlin Dimondi 13, Katherine Barth 15, Andrea Cole 40, Betsy Tootell 57, and Jennifer Kaufmann 72.
The Flying Banana Hammocks won the coed relay, no names available but Jack Powell of Ocean View was not their anchor man; Surfer Jack went Speedo all on his own.
The all-female, all-day relay was won by team Montourage, followed by the Mermaid Warriors.
The male relay was won by 3DS.
The Dewey Beach Sprint Triathlon raised money to support programs for kids at the Rehoboth Y. Ava Cannon is the event director and does a great job keeping it loose yet tight while fast and lite.