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Chief: First triathlon runs smoothly


September 14, 2011 | 07:50 AM
WILLIAMS BAY — The village's first experience with the Lake Geneva Triathlon appears to have been a fairly smooth one.

Only one athlete, suffering minor injuries after a fall, was transported to a local hospital, said Police Chief Robert Pruessing.

Pruessing was in overall charge of safety and security at the triathlon, which took over the Williams Bay lakefront on Sept. 10.

Pruessing estimated that about 1,700 participants showed up for the competition, not counting spectators.

It's very possible this village of 2,700 doubled its population for the day of the triathlon.

Pruessing said there are some issues that will have to be dealt with to make sure next year's triathlon is even better.

- Better control the flow of spectators, some of whom (accidentally or not) mingled with the triathletes. Some spectators were way too close to the bike lanes. While there were no bike-spectator collisions, there were a few close calls, Pruessing said.

- Better control of the bus shuttles from the parking lot at the high school to Edgewater Park. Shuttles brought triathletes to the event, but if the athletes had to go back to the school, they were on their own. A return shuttle needs to be planned, the chief said.

Participants and spectators began arriving Friday evening, and some didn't leave the area until Sunday.

For nearly 20 years, the triathlon start centered in Fontana. This past winter, however, Frank Dobbs and Lake Geneva Sports LLC, which run the triathlon, approached Williams Bay with a proposal to have the triathlon hosted in the village's Edgewater Park.

Dobbs and the village signed a contract that spelled out responsibilities on both sides. That was an advantage, because it spelled out clear-cut responsibilities on both sides, Pruessing said.

At the time, village officials said that the major part of the agreement was the triathlon have $5 million in insurance and that it hold the village harmless in case of accidents.

The triathlon is divided into three parts, swimming, biking and running. The competition is divided into four events, each with different lengths for each event.

In the SuperSprint, competitors swim for two-tenths of a mile, bike for 13 miles and run one mile. In the sprint, they swim three-tenths of a mile, bike 13 miles and run 3.1 miles.

In the Olympic, they swim for nine-tenths of a mile, bike for 26 miles and run for 6.2 miles.

In the half extreme, they swim for 1.2 miles, bike for 55 miles and run for 13.1 miles.

The competition began with the first wave of swimmers hitting the water about 7 a.m. Most of the awards ceremonies completed by 2 p.m.

The Williams Bay boat launch was closed starting midnight Friday, but was reopened for limited use by 10:30 a.m.

Williams Bay police, Geneva Lake Law Enforcement officers and volunteers from surrounding communities provided security and guided competitors to the correct starting and finishing points.

Williams Bay Lions Club volunteers manned water stations along the triathlon biking and running routes. .

The triathlon also has private security, which is headed by Walworth Police Chief Chris Severt.

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Walworth County