First-ever Ötillö Swimrun Catalina kicks off 2020 swimrun season

Tough conditions and a strong racing field saw a highly competitive first race of the 2020 swimrun season at ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Catalina.

A total of 108 teams of two from 18 different nations travelled to Catalina, 40km off the coast of Los Angeles in southern California, to compete in the first-ever ÖTILLÖ World Series race in America, held on 29 February to 1 March 2020.

The event is the fourth qualifier for ÖTILLÖ (the Swimrun World Championship 2020 in the Swedish archipelago) and saw racers cover almost 31km on foot and 8km swimming in 16-degree water, making the total course distance just under 39km.

Racers also had to contend with a 25-knot northwest wind which caused a big swell at the race’s longest swim section – Parsons Landing.

Several teams struggled to make it in time for the three cut offs. Around 90% of teams finished, with some having to abandon the race along the way.

Otillo Catalina 2020 123456 010320 Paddy Mack Copy

ÖTILLÖ, The Swimrun World Championship (ÖTILLÖ meaning island to island in Swedish) is the original swimrun race and is renowned as one of the toughest one-day races in the world.

In the men’s race, Nicolas Remires (FRA) and Francesc De Lanuza Gimeno (ESP) of Team Envol pulled out the stops and won five minutes ahead of top-ranked former World Champion Fredrik Axegård (SWE), who raced with Oscar Olsson (SWE) in Team Ark, in a time of 4:53:12.

In the women’s category, World Champions from Sweden, Fanny Kuhn and Desirée Andersson of Team Wild Envol showed from the beginning why they are world champions, finishing 32 minutes ahead of second placed Henelan Wikmar and Isabella Hedberg (SWE) in a time of 5:05:34.

The mixed category saw a competitive field, with many of the top racers taking part. The winners were Alexis Charrier (FRA) and Sabina Rapelli (ITA) of Team Envol who finished five minutes ahead of Hanna Skårbratt and Johan Skårbratt of Swedish Team, Ark, in 5:10:37.

The event also hosted a 7.8km ‘Experience’ distance with three swim sections totalling 1,600 metres in the hope of making the sport accessible to more people and to encourage newcomers to experience swimrun.

For more information about swimrun and ÖTILLÖ visit

Pictures (c) Pierre Mangez HR

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