ÖtillÖ Swimrun race report with Johanna Wallensten from Team Ultraswimrun

Hi Johanna. You and Desiree Falk Olsson came in sixth among women in ÖtillÖ Swimrun 2015, Congratulations!

– Thank you!

We do short race reports that go beyond the stats and give people a feeling for different races to help swim-runners pick races best suited for them. So to kick-off on this theme, how was the race? Can you describe it?

The ÖtillÖ race is really special. It is very tough and demanding but yet such an amazing and beautiful race that fills you with positive energy which helps you along the way. The organization is great and friendly and all who compete are really nice to each other. You can make great friends along the way!

What do you think about the course?

– It is a long course and the terrain is varied, there is a bit of everything. Rugged terrain, slippery rocks, half a marathon partly on flat tarmac road, short swims and long exposed swims. For me and Desiree it was the second time competing in ÖtillÖ as a team and although the course was the same the experience was very different. The first year biggest challenge for me was the cold water, this year it was the wind and the waves. I wasn´t used to swim in waves, but now I am.

What was you “Kodak-moment?”

– Well, seeing the finish line at Utö Värdshus is always fantastic, but otherwise the turmoil of swimmers in the big waves- made the race feel very adventurous.                                               

You did well coming in sixth among women. Did the race go according to plan?

– The plan was to make a better time this year. I have improved my swimming a lot so it should have been possible, but then the weather put a stop to that. We actually did very similar times the two years, but if it had not been for the windy conditions we would definitely have beaten our old time.

…and what’s next?

– Next  up is Loch Gu Loch in Scotland, another scenic race! I have heard it is rather cold in the water though…

If you look forward five years, where do think the Swimrun sport will be?

– I think swimrunning will have moved on to be more of a way to exercise in nature. Just like most people who run do it without competing, so will swimrunners. Adventure Swimruns like we do at Ultraswimrun – more like treks or expeditions will likely also be more common.

– Finally any advice to those doing ÖtillÖ next year?Well, I will definitely practice swimming in wavy conditions. I think it can make a big difference if you can master the technique. So there is no excuse to cancel swimrun practice because of stormy weather- just don’t go alone!

/Team Ultraswimrun – Going further is the adventure!

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