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Orca Community Blog

Andrew Starykowicz's new challenges,


November 9, 2021


Starykowicz tells us about his experience in preparing for and participating in the famous SwimRun NC, which was held in November in North Carolina, USA.

ANDREW STARYKOWICZ - Professional triathlete

On paper it is a 3km Swim & 15.8 mi Run broken up over 20 different segments. Easy enough, I can take my existing training and just roll into the race. Right? Then I started to read about the course. Words like Ale House get me excited, but words like traverse waterfall written 4 different times along with “642 stairs” left me thinking I better train for this.

How do you train for this? Well, I reached out to a few athletes who did it before and then I brought my own horrible imagination of what I fantasize this could be and I designed a plan to conquer.

For me much of the change was in the pool. Swimming with pull buoy paddles, and not just a little…A lot. It is no secret that my swim has slid quite a bit during CoVid, so embarking on this was a kick in the pants to my swim fitness. Most of the swims are around 400-500 meters, so I did a lot of swimming 400-600 meters and getting out of the pool and doing calisthenics and then jump back in for another 400-600 meters.

The first time I tried it I progressively got slower and started to really swing my arms and not really pull the water. Now, I think I am ready for the water.

The run I honestly did not change much. I trained hard for Xterra Oak Mountain this spring and did not bring home much of a result due to a flat tire, so I am hoping to redeem myself here for my trail running prowess.

Going into the race the largest unknown for me is the distance in wet shoes and what that will do to my feet. I am sure the day will unlock many more unknowns that I did not fantasize would come my way.

The final unknown is the race is done as a pair. For me that pairing is with Jarrod Shoemaker. We have raced against each other but never together, so I am interested how much we learn about each other. Jarrod has spent the last 2 years doing adventure races with teams, so I am sure he is far more mentally prepared than myself.

All this said. Do you fear the unknown or embrace it? That is your decision at this point, for me, I’ve always embraced it. My goals for the November 7 are simple.

1) Don’t hurt yourself. CLASH Daytona is 4 weeks away
2) Have fun. This is both of our debuts, there is no money to be won. We have high expectations of ourselves, but it will be far less worth it if we are enemies afterward.
3) Win. Seriously, given what each of us have done we should not lose.

Now I will leave you with a rednecks famous last word: “Hey y’all, watch this”
Followed by my wife saying, “oh he's doing it”


Andrew Starykowicz has been with Orca for more than 10 years. While with us he has won several 70.3’s, Ironmans, a few of them leading wire to wire. He was the 1st American to ever go under 8 hours in an Ironman (2013). Not only does Andrew represent Orca on the race course he helps with product development keeping Orca at the forefront of speed. Keep up with Andrew on his website,, or Instagram @Starykowicz.