Zone3 Kona Athletes and their Progress in the Season so far

Elite Male:

  • Bart Aernouts – qualified via his 2nd place finish from IM World Championships 2018
  • Matt Hanson – qualified at IM Mar del Plata (2nd 7:39:47)
  • Andi Boecherer – qualified at IM Italy (1st 8:01:50)
  • Josh Amberger – qualified at IM Vitoria-Gasteiz (2nd 8:06:55)
  • Joe Skipper – qualified at IM Texas (4th 8:05:03)

Bart Aernouts will be approaching the Ironman World Championships in 2019 as a reigning silver medallist. His 2nd place in 2018 behind Patrick Lange saw him as the second person to ever break the magical 8-hour mark on the Big Island. Bart is an incredibly strong bike-runner and is likely to bring himself to the forefront towards the end of the race. With a new partnership with Zone3 bringing him advantages through the swim in our Zone3 Kona Short-Sleeved Swimskin, will we see Bart in a better position in T1 and able to catapult himself towards the front, earlier into the race? Bart is coming into the race having won 70.3 Barcelona and certified his pre-qualification at Ironman South Africa, both of which were early season. This has meant he can focus fully on the World Championships event and has been able to complete a big block of training at altitude in preparation for Kona.    

Like Bart, Andi Boecherer has been able to keep laser focus on the World Championships for a long period of time. His qualification for this event was one of the earliest, obtained by winning Ironman Italy in September 2018. 2019 has seen Andi race (and win!) 70.3 Switzerland and 70.3 Pays d’Aix. After a difficult outing at Challenge Roth, Andi returned to what he knows and loves best and has put in a really solid few months of training ahead of the big race in Kona.

Matt Hanson qualified for the World Championship event at Ironman Mar del Plata, with a 2nd place finish in a time of 7:39:47 (shortened swim course). Matt is the current Ironman World Record holder having won Ironman Texas in April 2018 in a time of 7:39:25. In the build-up to the Ironman World Championships event in 2019, Matt has been racing a lot of 70.3 events to really sharpen his speed and hopefully help to bring him to the forefront of the race.

Josh Amberger is known as the fastest swimmer in long-distance triathlon. Having led out the swim at the Ironman World Championships in 2017 and 2018 and the 70.3 World Championships event in 2019, expect to see Josh driving the pace at the front of the swim pack this October and enter T1 in first position. Zone3 have created a custom Swimskin for Josh this year, building on their knowledge and experience of building exceptionally hydrodynamic suits. Could we see the famous swim course record in Kailua Bay, Kona being broken? Josh’s eyes will be fixed on the clock, hoping to come in under the previous record of 46:29 set in 2018.

Joe Skipper has struggled a bit with an injury this year, which has seen him avoiding running for the early portion of the season. He has been focusing solely on improving his swim speed and refining his bike power. This has seen great results, with Joe setting an amazing benchmark of cycling 325 miles (523km) in the National 12-hour TT championships. This ride averaged close to 300 Watts for the 12-hour period, and in the process took the win and nearly set a national record! Joe then took to Ironman Wales and was in the lead on the bike when disaster struck, and he got hit with a puncture. Joe managed to get himself back into the race and finished with the fastest run split of the race, so is obviously over his injury and coming into the race firing on all cylinders.

Elite Female:

  • Daniela Bleymehl – qualified at IM Italy (1st 9:05:49)
  • Nikki Bartlett – qualified at IM Lanzarote (1st 9:59:10)
  • Sarah Piampinao – qualified at IM Brasil (1st 8:40:48)
  • Kimberley Morrison – qualified at IM Tallinn (3rd 9:04:23)

Daniela Bleymehl was another athlete to qualify early, with a win at Ironman Italy 2018. She has since podiumed at Challenge Roth and won at 70.3 Zell am See-Kaprun and multiple middle-distance Challenge events. She is known for being a bike powerhouse and a strong runner, with these strengths helping to take her to a win at Challenge Roth in 2018. Expect to see this German athlete push towards the front on the bike leg!

Kimberley Morrison is another uber-biker set to dominate the lava fields on the bike in the World Championship event. She qualified with a 3rd place finish at Ironman Tallinn and had a great race at Ironman Texas where she set the fastest bike split and overtook Daniela Ryf on two wheels. She will be looking to swim in the first big pack in Kailua Bay before working hard to catch and overtake the leaders before T2.

Nikki Bartlett is no stranger to hot and hilly conditions similar to those we will see in Kona, having had her first success at Ironman distance with her win at Ironman Lanzarote earlier in the year. The UK based athlete has been spending plenty of time doing heat acclimatisation this year, as she will be a guide for a paratriathlete who hopes to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Sarah Piampiano is in a great vein of form this year, having come second at Ironman Hamburg and winning Ironman Brasil, with the latter being in an incredible time of 8:40:48. This American athlete is one of the strongest runners in the field, and likely to come to the front when it really matters towards the end of the race.