Third time a charm for De Jong in triathlon

Published 4:00 pm Monday, July 19, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — For the first time in two summers, triathletes hit the waters of Diamond Lake to compete.

After having to cancel the 2020 Diamond Lake Triathlon due to COVI-19, the participants returned to Cassopolis Saturday morning to take part in a 500-yard swim, 12-mile bike ride and 3.3-mile run to help raise money for Alex Stscherban, a triathlete who was injured and is now a quadriplegic. The Diamond Lake Triathlon has raised more than $15,000 to help Stscherban over the years with equipment to talk and a mechanized wheelchair.

Joe Fazzini, race director, said that leading up to the race that participants were excited to get back to competing and spending time together.

Before Saturday’s race, the weather conditions were hot and wet. Come Saturday morning, those conditions changed for the better according to Fazzini.

“It was a great day here on Diamond Lake,” he said. “The weather finally broke for us and the rain stopped overnight. The conditions actually turned perfect for triathlon. The water was calm, the bike was fast with very little wind resistance and the run course is always a little sporty with our Diamond Lake hills surrounding the community but fun was certainly had by all.”

Complete results were still unavailable as of Monday afternoon as a glitch kept triMichiana from getting them done. The company continues to work on getting the final results put together.

“The results have been slow,” Fazzini said. “It’s disappointing for sure that triMichiana, our timers, are having these issues.”

According to the website, the issue is with the timing splits. They are delaying the release of the results until they are accurate when they are posted and corrections will not be needed later.

One of the results that are known is that the third time was a charm for Josh De Jong of Indianapolis. In his third attempt to win the triathlon, he pulled away during the bike ride and cruised in with the victory. De Jong was in the top 10 coming out of the water, but easily passed all his competitors during the 12-mile ride.

The other known result is that Tri-Loco, of Indianapolis, won the Tri Club Challenge again.

“They took home the traveling trophy once again with their president, Josh “Turtle” De Jong taking the overall victory,” Fazzini said.

Fazzini thanks the residents of Diamond Lake for allowing the race to continue to be held.

“I want to thank the Diamond Lake community for letting us borrow their streets,” he said. “To Diamond Lake Marina offering to us a perfect race venue, to all the racers, volunteers, sponsors, and all the spectators that contributed to such a perfect day. Our goal is to promote fitness, the sport of triathlon and showcase Diamond Lake and Cassopolis.”

Cassopolis Village Manager Emilie Sarratore served as the official starter for the triathlon.