Las Olas triathlon competitors battle rough current, dodge coronavirus

The 2020 Las Olas International Triathlon took place on March 8, potentially one of the last for a while due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Athletes participated in several different courses through Fort Lauderdale, most of which consisted of a combination of swimming, biking and running. 

Because the oceans’ current was rough, the swim portion of the race had to be shortened to ensure safety. 

“Finishing a race in these types of conditions is pretty amazing,” said participant Todd Tropeano.  

With each course designed differently, several participants placed first in their category. The International Triathlon winners were Santiago Ascenco with a time of 1:26:56.97 and Carolina Ponce with a time of 1:40:24.91. 

The International Duathlon — which did not have the swim portion — winners were Alan Graff with a time of 1:39:14.28 and Miriam Klein with a time of 1:54:49.91. 

In the Sprint Triathlon, the winners were John Reback with a time of 54:55.91 and Carla Moreno with a time of 58:36.56. The winners in the Sprint Duathlon were Jonathan Bass with a time of 58:34.90 and Susan Fleming with a time of 1:05:44.10. 

The winners of the Aquabike — which did not have the running portion — were Diego Broglia with a time of 55:31.94 and Jillian Jacinth with a time of 58:26.19.  

Participant Lydia Musleh, who has been training for the race since 2019, said she was initially a swimmer but decided to try something different by transitioning into triathlons. 

“The swim was very challenging for me, not only getting in the water but staying in the water,” she said.  

Although the weather was chilly and windy, finishers were in great spirits. 

“The location of where the race takes place is in a beautiful area and with spring break around, tons of people come out to watch the race and even the random people walking by, cheer on the racers,” said Assistant Race Director Andy Duvoisin. 

He said a triathlon scheduled for April 19 in South Beach has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns.

Carolina Sauer wrote the text that accompanies the video, appeared on camera and edited the video. Brandon Bravo did the interviews and shot the video. 

Carolina Sauer is a Miami-based journalist and producer with a bachelor's degree in communications and a minor in hospitality management from Florida International University. She recently graduated from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University where she received a master's degree in communications with a concentration in journalism and innovation. Sauer holds her greatest strengths in media and production. She has a niche for communicating with variety of audiences and tailoring to specific markets.