Updated: Jan 21, 2020
Croatia 2019 was nothing short of life changing. Three first time triathletes set a goal, made a commitment to prepare themselves through training, and delivered impressive performances in the face of adverse race-day weather conditions and with a spirit and sense of camaraderie that was inspiring. We are proud to call them fellow adventures, teammates, and triathletes. But make no mistake, our April trip to Croatia wasn’t all sweat and training. We indulged on oysters and delectable seafood at every turn, tasted plenty of indigenous wine, and explored hidden beaches along Korčula island’s vast coast.
Our small group of adventurers each came with a goal. Marianne, a former collegiate swimmer turned successful attorney, had considered competing in a triathlon for some time, but had yet to take the leap. Beth, also an accomplished attorney and very strong high-school swimmer, had focused on her family and career for the last decade, but was now armed with a new energized lifestyle and she yearned for travel and adventure. Earl, a shrewd detective charged with investigating serious crimes, was looking to take on a new challenge and keep up with Beth’s increasingly athletic lifestyle.
They arrived in Croatia and were welcomed by the coastal country’s best seafood at our traditional first-night dinner. The group chatted about the trip agenda and the next day’s activities as they broke the ice and sipped on local Plavac Mali. As they took in the newness of the experience, they already had their minds drifting toward race day. They had each been preparing physically and mentally for this trip for several months and now they got to enjoy a week of tapering in the most hospitable of locations before they’d put their training to the test. After a relaxing meal, the group set off for their cliffside hotel, took in the cool Adriatic breeze, and fell asleep as the waves lapped against the rocks some 40 feet below.
The lapping picked up in speed and intensity over the night and the group awoke for the next morning’s open water swimming workshop with a slight trepidation. What had been a calm harbor was now choppy underneath an overcast sky. Compounding things, this was the first time a few of our adventurers had swam in truly open water. Nevertheless, the crew fearlessly donned their wetsuits, caps, and goggles and hopped into the once-clear sea from the hotel’s deck. While a bit crisp, they put their faces in the water, stretched out their arms, ran through breathing drills, practiced spotting, and earned a few experience points that would prove valuable.