What a difference a year makes.
For Lavaman Keauhou participants Dan Gampon and Keoni Smith, that difference was over an hour of combined time off their 2012 results.
The Kealakehe high school graduates have had quite the year.
Smith and Gampon completed the Ironman World Championships in September, less than a year after their first triathlon — the 2012 Lavaman Keauhou.
“Last night was probably the best night of sleep I’ve had before a race,” Smith said. “There’s so much less to think about with a race of this distance.”
While shorter, after a year of grueling endurance training Smith and Gampon found that they had a hard time shifting to the higher gears needed for Lavaman’s short course.
“We have been doing so much long distance training that bringing the speed for this was tough,” Smith said. “We have a lot of endurance, but the speed feels gone.”
The two were in good spirits after the race and wanted to shift the spotlight that has been so prominently on them, to their peers.
“I took this race as an event I could go out and have fun at.,” Gampon said. “We had teammates from the Waverider Triathlon Club out here and we wanted them to have their day. We already had our day with Ironman.”
Christopher Prater was the Waverider with the best day. Prater finished the race with a time of 2:26:53 — ahead of both Smith and Gampon, and good enough for 13th overall.
Other club participants who shined Sunday included: Leahi Camacho (3:06:43), Marissa Bryant-Manago (3:32:45), Brandon Franco (3:18:29) and Majdi Mariano (3:22:19).
A notable participant on the course Sunday was Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi.
Kenoi, who participates in various endurance events around the island during the year, finished with a respectable time of 3:42:41.
Officials noted the perfect conditions for the event Sunday. The conditions were so ideal that dozens of spinner dolphins decided to put on a show in Keauhou Bay just minutes after the final swimmers exited the water.