Courtis pulling the best strokes

There was a sense of deja vu about the second race in the Ogier Stroke and Stride series, which took place on Wednesday 22 August. With yet another big field turning out for the event, it was expected that the stronger swimmers would be able to assert their dominance as the swim distance increased from 400 metres to 600 metres, with the run remaining at two miles. 

In the men’s division, ace swimmer Matthew Courtis picked up where he had left off in the first race of the series, dominating the event from start to finish. He never looked in danger of relinquishing his lead, crossing the line first for his second win of the series. Johan Heath crossed the line some 75 seconds down on Courtis to claim his second runner-up finish in as many races, while third place went to Greg Meaker once again. 

In the women’s race, Jacqui Retief used her strong swim and run to take the win again, crossing the line some 50 seconds ahead of Andrea Kilam-Higgo in second place. In spite of the increase in swim distance, top runner Emily Davies managed to fight her way up into third place again. 

In the team competition, winners of the first event in the series, Sink & Stumble, composed of David Mackintosh and Andrew Keast, faced a tough challenge from 2011 series champions Cajun Hounds, composed of Andrew Smiley and Bill Edwards, but managed to retain their unbeaten record with Cajun Hounds in second and Team Tassie, composed of Michael O’Connor and Nathan Stubing in third. 

The results leave Courtis and Retief with a two point lead over their closest competitors, while Sink & Stumble carries a three point lead over Team Tassie into the final event.  

Neither Courtis nor Retief seem vulnerable in their quest for the overall title. Their performances in the first two races also suggest that it is unlikely they will be beaten in the third event by any of the competitors who took part in the first two events in the series.  

The third and final Stroke and Stride event will take place on Wednesday 29 August, featuring an 800 metre swim and a two mile run.  

The event will kick off at 5.45pm with a swim in the ocean off Sunset House followed by a run along South Sound Road to finish at Sunset House. 

The results leave Courtis and Retief with a two point lead over their closest competitors, while Sink & Stumble carries a three point lead over Team Tassie into the final event. 

Matthew-Courtis-stroke-stride

Matthew Courtis dominated the race from start to finish. – PHOTOS: EUGENE BONTHUYS