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RecSports hosts annual biathlon

Casey Kenny | Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday’s brisk weather and overcast skies did not prevent over 100 students and faculty members from converging at St. Joe’s Lake to participate in RecSports’ annual biathlon.

The biathlon featured several divisions of participants – varsity and non-varsity, individual and team and male and female – and tested the participants’ endurance and stamina as they competed in a half-mile swim followed by a two-mile run.

All participants began the race waist deep in the chilly waters of St. Joe’s Lake, then swam to various buoys and back to the starting point on shore.

After completing the half-mile swim portion, competitors dried off, changed and continued or tagged their teammate who then completed the running portion of the race – a two-mile run around St. Joe’s and St. Mary’s Lakes in a figure eight loop.

RecSports coordinator for special events Tim Novak said they have sponsored this event for over 20 years and he sees it as a good way to begin the school year.

“RecSports puts on this event in order to give students, faculty, and staff something fun and productive to do during the first week of classes, and to promote future RecSports events,” he said.

In order to monitor the safety of the event’s participants, lifeguards in kayaks and rescue boats were present, as well as members of the Notre Dame Fire Department Rescue Squad.

“These safety precautions were in place in order to pull anyone out who wants to stop or who is struggling and needs obvious rescue,” Novak said.

Results from the biathlon and winners from each division were be posted on the RecSports Web site.

The men’s swim team took part in the event. Varsity coach Tim Welsh said it is a fun way for his team to test their skills.

“It is a fun opening event and everyone enjoys it,” Welsh said. “The freshmen are required to do both parts of the biathlon, but everyone is eager to take part.”

Seniors Avery Scott and Aaron Pierre competed together in the team division and were pleased with their performance.

“We placed a lot better than I thought we would, especially since we were up against a lot of great athletes,” Pierre said. “I expect to be getting calls from the coaches pretty soon.”

Scott said he was just happy to finally have a chance to swim in St. Joe’s Lake.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve been looking for an excuse to swim in the lake for a while,” he said. “I really enjoyed it and, besides, whether I won or lost, I got to shave my chest.”