SPORTSHOT "you did the work,we captured it ! #sportshot_photography @Sportshotphotography

The Aquabike Series was a pilot program in 2005 that was brought to USA Triathlon by one of its members. Dean Peterson of Peoria, Arizona. Dean Peterson had spoken with many triathletes that felt they would be interested in a format in which athletes could compete in the swim and the bike portions of a half or ultra-distance triathlon. He brought the idea to then USA Triathlon’s acting Executive Director, Mike Greer, who got the race directors to provide a course. Race directors then agreed to provide times and placements for these athletes.

The Aquabike Triathlon race is the same Half, Full, Olympic and Sprint triathlon distances you know and love, but you have to run a little bit less or get to skip the run! Perfect for those returning from injury, or just don’t fancy running as much.

Although there didn´t really happen too much in terms of racing, the year 2016 still marks an important point in aquabike triathlon racing. The 2016 ITU competition rules included aquabike races for the first time. The rules were quite limited. One of them: “Aquabike events will be organised only under Long Distance and for Age Group categories, and included in the program of a Long Distance Triathlon event.”  The last part of this rule presumably opened the door for many aquabike races which came up the following years. Because it made race organizers (and probably also national federations) aware, that they can be fully included in a triathlon. What seems obvious in coutries where aquabike races were long established at that time, apparently wasn´t so clear in other countries.

Although there wasn´t yet any ITU sanctioned aquabike race in 2016, by including it in the competition rules the ITU basically gave the official starting signal to this discipline. And the term “aquabike” was now officially established. It´s been used for swim & bike races in the US for 11 years at that time. But in other countries terms like aquavelo, aquacycle or simply swimbike have been used. 

Many long-course triathlon events embraced this style of competition by hosting a 1.2-mile swim and 56-mile bike. Organisers were surprised to find that not only were they attracting athletes who had trouble running, but also a new crop of participants, as this distance offered the endurance of a long-course event without the pounding on the joints caused by the 13.1-mile run portion of long-course triathlons

For the first time in 2017 aquabike was included in the ITU Multisport Championships which took place in Penticton, Canada. With 342 aquabike athletes at the start line of this young discipline it was quite popular from the very beginning. But since there haven´t really been a lot of aquabike races in mainland Europe, only two athletes from Germany and two from Denmark were competing for gold, silver and bronze medals in the age groups. There is never an official overall winner in international aquabike championships but of course it´s still worth checking who the fastest athletes were across all age groups in the very first world championships. It might be a bit of a surprise that there wasn´t even a US athlete on the podium. It was Stephen Sheldrake from New Zealand taking the victory in an overall time of 03:45:27, two minutes ahead of Jan Henningsen of Denmark, closely followed by James McNaughton from Canada. In the women´s race we saw a british double win. Maria Powell was the fastest in 04:09:36, only 33 seconds ahead of Amy Pritchard with Kirsten Sass from the US only two more seconds behind (» see full results).

The European Championship – Ibiza 2018. One year after the ITU introduced aquabike in the world championships for the first time, the European Triathlon Union followed to include this still young discipline in the first Multisport European Championships. It took place in Ibiza on the 28th of October. Other than the World´s which are held over the long distance, the European Championships are a middle distance race.

source: USA Triathlon and

1 thought on “Aquabike Triathlon History

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *