Chilliwack's Anthony Toth overcame swimming struggles to place fifth at last weekend's Challenge Penticton Triathlon.

Chilliwack's Anthony Toth overcame swimming struggles to place fifth at last weekend's Challenge Penticton Triathlon.

Tough test for Toth at Challenge Penticton

The swim stage almost torpedoed his chances, but Chillliwack's Anthony Toth overcame adversity to finish fifth at the triathlon.

  • Aug. 28, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Chilliwack’s Anthony Toth overcame a tough start to finish fifth at last weekend’s Challenge Penticton Triathlon race.

Sunday was race day, with Toth diving into Okanagan Lake for the start of the 3.8 kilometre swim.

“I had a great start and was on the back of the lead pack and feeling great 300 metres in,” Toth said. “But the water was very choppy, with waves that seemed over two feet high at times. I swallowed water into my lungs and had to stop to cough and catch my breath for a few minutes.”

By the time he resumed, Toth couldn’t see the lead pack, and could barely see the buoys beyond the high waves. He ended up swimming an extra 400m off course before finally leaving the lake.

“All of the swim times were obviously slow but that time spent fighting the waves made it even more fatiguing,” he said.

In fourteenth place coming out of the water, Toth made up substantial ground on the 180km bike ride to Osoyoos and back.

He had the seventh fastest time at 04:58:25.

“I was on my own the last 90km and was looking forward to the run and seeing what the gaps were between me and the others,” he said.

Heading into the 42.2km run, Toth was more than 10 minutes behind the top three, but within striking distance of the next group.

Thirty kilometres in, Toth had climbed up to fourth place and was feeling good.

Someone told him No. 3 was just ahead, so he picked up the pace to try and catch him.

“Which led me into cramping and fatigue,” Toth explained. “I got caught at 39km mark and finished fifth.”

No complaints though.

Considering the obstacles he faced, Toth was pleased.

“It was a great performance of focus and will for all the problems I encountered,” he said. “The race is never perfect, but it’s about dealing with those obstacles that test your will and mind. The body can take you so far and then it’s about what you endure.”

Toth’s final time of 09:10:14 was 40 minutes behind race winner Jeff Symonds.

Toth will compete in the Cultus Lake Triathlon Sept. 8.

He plans to do a half Ironman in Austin, TX, in late October, followed by a full Ironman in Tempe, AZ, Nov. 17.

Toth runs a youth triathlon club in Chilliwack.