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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 6:30 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 
Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
Triathlon

Sasha Romanenko Dashes to 2nd-Quickest Santa Barbara Sprint Triathlon in 10 Years

After the 20-year-old wins the co-ed race, Santa Barbaran Adrienne Brown completes the fastest women’s time, and Goletan Sarah Webb takes all-women’s race title

Sprint triathlon champion Sasha Romanenko, right, is joined by, from left, runner-up Matt Organista, Kyle Visin (fourth) and Jason Smith (third). Click to view larger
Sprint triathlon champion Sasha Romanenko, right, is joined by, from left, runner-up Matt Organista, Kyle Visin (fourth) and Jason Smith (third). (J.C. Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

Though Sunday’s short-course athletes weren’t privileged with the cool, overcast weather that their counterparts in Saturday’s long-course triathlon had, they didn’t require any sort of meteorological help to throw down some quick times.

Sasha Romanenko, a 20-year-old from Aliso Viejo in Orange County, swam, biked and ran his way to the second-fastest time in the last decade in the Santa Barbara Triathlon’s sprint, winning the co-ed race in 33 minutes and 54 seconds.

“Today, I just shot right out in the swim,” Romanenko said after the race. “I knew I had to get a fast swim in, and then just stay out of sight on the bike and then just hold ’em off on the run. I did that today, so it was really good.”

The fastest woman (14th finisher overall) was Adrienne Brown of Santa Barbara in 40:53. Sarah Webb of Goleta took the women-only sprint title in 46:34.

Brown, 31, who specializes in swimming, said she needed to focus on her strong suit to extend her advantage.

“That’s definitely the one leg of the race I really have to rely on and try and get as much of a head-start as possible, so that I can sort of just hang on for the bike and the run,” Brown, who grew up swimming with the Santa Barbara Swim Club, told Noozhawk.

“I’ve done this race for maybe six or seven years,” she added. “Last year I did the long course, but the sprint is just so much fun, and I love how this race is put on. It’s just a fun group of people.”

Sarah Webb finishes the 500-meter ocean swim on her way to winning the women’s sprint race. Click to view larger
Sarah Webb finishes the 500-meter ocean swim on her way to winning the women’s sprint race. (Sam Goldman/Noozhawk photo)

The triathlon’s sprint course, based at the Cabrillo Pavilion Bathhouse and East Beach Grill at 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd, covers 500 yards in the ocean, a six-mile out-and-back ride along Cabrillo and a two-mile out-and-back run the other way along the boulevard.

Participants from across the state arrived at East Beach at dawn for the competition.

Crossing the line 15 seconds behind Romanenko and one day removed from a fourth place in the long course was Matt Organista, who was the sprint winner in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“It was pretty exciting out there,” Organista, 27, said. “Sasha was about a minute ahead of me coming in on the bike, and then I had a good transition and made up about 40 seconds of that minute in the run.”

Organista’s 33:33 from 2014 was the one time over the past decade faster than Romanenko’s performance.

“I’ve been going at this one — the short course — for five years now, and I haven’t lost,” he told Noozhawk. “So this is, I don’t know, bittersweet — the kid had a great race.”

Jason Smith of Santa Barbara took third in the co-ed race in 35:16, after also finishing third in the long course.

Andre Barbieri finished 63rd in the co-ed sprint race in 47:45. “I think I beat my record from previous years,” he said. “So I’m happy.” Click to view larger
Andre Barbieri finished 63rd in the co-ed sprint race in 47:45. “I think I beat my record from previous years,” he said. “So I’m happy.” (J.C. Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

The second- and third-fastest women of the morning were Santa Barbara’s Darlene Krohn in 41:50 and Robin Dibiase of San Luis Obispo in 43:29.

Coming in behind Webb in the all-women’s race were Aine Coil of Davis and Lacey Payne of Fresno in 48:11 and 49:05, respectively.

Full results from the triathlon can be found here.

Like Brown, Webb is primarily a swimmer, and competed for four years at the University of Southern California.

Rather than focus on the first leg like Brown, though, she took a different approach.

“I always knew that, whenever I do these kinds of races, since they’re so short, I need to focus my energy on the worst part of the race, which is usually the bike,” Webb, 26, told Noozhawk.

“For my swim, I just focused on not using my legs,” she added. “Bike, I really powered it up to make sure I could catch anyone; and run, just keep a solid pace.”

Sunday also marked the triathlon’s first duathlon, which drops the 500-yard swim for a one-mile beach run.

James Ballantine, 52, of Santa Barbara took the top men’s spot in 40:17, and Camarillo’s Lara Ray, 47, was the fastest woman in 43:54.

James and Rebecca Locher, 51 and 12, respectively, were the fastest finishers in the parent–child sprint, with times of 51:02 and 51:03.

The beneficiary of this year’s Santa Barbara Triathlon was the Special Olympics of Southern California.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Triathletes enter the water for the start of the Santa Barbara Triathlon co-ed sprint race on early Sunday morning. Click to view larger
Triathletes enter the water for the start of the Santa Barbara Triathlon co-ed sprint race on early Sunday morning. (J.C. Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

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