Local uses knowledge of area to win title
By JOSEPH PERSON - The State
The first Tri the Midlands triathlon attracted competitors from as far away as Pennsylvania and Indiana. But it was a local woman who used her knowledge of the surprisingly hilly Lake Carolina terrain to win the inaugural sprint-distance race Saturday morning at the planned community in Richland Northeast.
Lindsay Agostini, who lives in Wildewood but often trains at Lake Carolina, built a comfortable lead during the 500-meter lake swim and held off Greenville’s Ashley Long during the bike and run portions to capture the women’s title in one hour, five minutes and 27 seconds.
Long, the former Georgia cheerleader who won the female open division at the Lake Murray sprint last month, finished second in 1:05:45.
“(Long) is an awesome runner and an awesome cyclist, so I knew I had to be the first one off the bike to win,” Agostini said.
Spartanburg’s Chris Olson was the top overall finisher in 56 minutes, 30 seconds. Agostini, a distance swimmer at her Michigan high school, held a 78-second edge on Long leaving the water. The 41-year-old Agostini said her familiarity with the roads surrounding the community helped her stay in the right gears and maintain good speed during the 12-mile bike loop.
“It was a huge home-field advantage,” she said. “I’d never beaten Ashley, but I knew the course. She usually beats me quite handily.”
By the turnaround point of the 3-mile run course, Agostini’s lead was down to 40 seconds on the 27-year-old Long, who made a strong kick but could not catch her older rival.
“She’s a phenomenal swimmer, so I knew I’d have to go hard to catch her (after the swim),” Long said.
Agostini began doing triathlons in 2000 and has developed into one of the country’s top competitors in the women’s 40-44 age group. She finished fifth last summer at the Long Course World Championship in France and qualified again this year, but is racing in Ironman Wisconsin the same weekend.
Agostini said she was grateful for a race where she did not need to bring a passport or carry-on luggage. The Lake Carolina event had 367 individual finishers, including 85 in the novice division and several hundred from South Carolina.
Said Agostini: “It was nice to only drive 10 minutes.”
And nicer still to win by 18 seconds.
**Lindsay: GREAT race... I had a blast! Thanks for your kind words.