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The great tradition of Susz Triathlon: a rainy start to a beautiful story

Susz Triathlon, TRIATHLON SUSZ, Polish Triathlon Championships

On 1st June, exactly 28 years will have passed since the first triathlon competitions in Susz. Mr. Cezary Oracki is talking to Andrzej Szysler, the director of the Sprint Triathlon competition in 1991, about the beginning of a beautiful story that continues to this day.


– It is said that Children’s Day in 1991 was rainy and cold?

– Yes, it’s true, the weather on that day and a few days back was rather dull. I remember that it gave us sleepless nights, because we were not sure if the water in Lake Suskie would reach the temperature required by the triathlon regulations on the day of the competition. The fax machine at the headquarters of TKKF (the Society for Promotion of Physical Culture club) in Susz kept ringing. Everyone - competitors, judges and the locals asked us only one question: “How many degrees is the water in the lake?” It was a very important question as, back then, very few players used swimming wetsuits. Therefore, if the water was not the right temperature, there would be no race. Eventually, on the day of the competition, we breathed a sigh of relief, because the thermometer immersed in the water of Lake Suskie showed 16 degrees and the first triathlon competition could become a fact. The 38 athletes finished the competition and they liked it very much in Susz.

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Photo: © Susz Triathlon / The Sprint Triathlon Championships 1991 in Susz / Poland


– Let’s get back to the beginning. Where did the idea of triathlon competition come from and why in Susz?

– The initiator was a local - Piotr Netter, back then an athlete, later a coach, also of the Polish national team in triathlon. Piotr turned to me with his idea of organizing the event in 1990. At that time I was a city councilor, a PE teacher at a local school and a secretary of the Society for Promotion of Physical Culture club in Susz. And it was the club that took the main burden of organizing the first Sprint Triathlon in Susz. However, in 1990 there was not enough time to prapare the event and we knew too little about this sports discipline, but in ‘91 nothing could stop us (smile).

– Who exactly is “us”?

– I am talking about myself and the members of the board of the TKKF club in Susz, which was composed: Bogusław Figacz, Wiesław Dybich, Andrzej Tur, Tadeusz Socha and Krystyna Dwórznik. A person who was really involved in the preparation of the event was the late Waldemar Stańczyk. People who also helped were: Beata Brzozowska (Dolik), Waldemar Szczegielniak and Andrzej Puwalski together with LKS “Unia Susz” (a local football club) and many others, whom, by the way, I would like to thank.

Only because of the great passion and commitment of the inhabitants of Susz, were we able to organize the first triathlon competition. Nobody helped us, and the financial resources were very limited. There were no decorative elements or accessories. We had to design and build the start and finish line, barriers, bike racks, etc. There was no way we would make it. But we succeeded and we still succeed today.

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Photo: © Susz Triathlon / The Sprint Triathlon Championships 1991 in Susz / Poland


– What were the triathlon competitions in Poland like back then?

– Meager. There were about 50 people (with the members of the Polish national team and the amateur participants) who did triathlon at that time in Poland. They were mostly the modern pentathlon competitors. There were only a few events in the year, during which the time-laps were written by hand, with a pen in a notebook. The Polish Championships took place in Poznan (Lake Malta), but they did not attract much interest neither from the participants nor the fans. The situation changed in 1992, when Susz, a town with 5000 citizens, organized the Polish Championships in Triathlon for the first time (smile) …

– One year after the organizational debut we “got” the Polish Championships?

– Yes, although I know it sounds unbelievable. Several factors contributed to this. First of all – when planning the first competition with Piotr Netter in 1991, we immediately assumed that this would be the beginning of a series of events in Susz. That is why the management of the Polish Triathlon Association was invited as the organizers. From the very beginning, we also pressured the former mayor of Susz, Zbigniew Skolimowski, to support the competition. After the Sprint Triathlon he officially supported the idea of developing triathlon in Susz and he gave a written declaration to financially support the subsequent events. This, combined with the enthusiasm and energy of the locals, which the Polish Triathlon Association board members saw in Susz, led to a decision to grant us, in October ‘91 in Warsaw, the rights to the Polish Championships in 1992 at the Olympic distance. Susz was the host of the event the following years.

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Photo: © Susz Triathlon / Polish Triathlon Championships 1993


– I wonder how you invited athletes to participate in the competition?

– In person. We had to go to other triathlon competitions and talk to the participants. Inviting them to Susz was not easy - no one knew our town - so we persuaded them to take part in our event by offering free accommodation, low entry fees and presents in starter packages. This only happened during the first competition- the triathlon in Susz had such a magical atmoshpere that you did not have to convince anyone again to take part in the next races in our town.

– So, despite the passage of time, not everything has changed. Thank you for the conversation.

– Thank you very much. I give my best regards to this year’s and subsequent organizers of the competitions in Susz.

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Photo: © Maratomania / Susz Triatlhlon 2018


Susz Triathlon 2019 – is the 28th edition of the iconic competition in the “Capital of Polish Triathlon” will take place on 21st - 23rd June 2019. Registration still in progress!


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Photo: © Maratomania / Susz Triathlon


Susz Triathlon 2019

Dates: 21-23 June 2019

Place: Susz, Poland


1/2 IRON Triathlon Race ⇒ (1,9 km swim + 90 km bike + 21,1 km run)

Polish Sprint Triathlon Championships (Age Groups) ⇒ (750 m swim + 20 km bike + 5 km run)

Polish Sprint Triathlon Championships (Elite) ⇒ (750 m swim + 20 km bike + 5 km run)

Aquathlon Race I (10-13 years-old) ⇒ (200 m swim + 1000 m run)

Aquathlon Race II (14-17 years-old) ⇒ (400 m swim + 2000 m run)


Susz Triathlon is one of the most recognizable triathlon events in Poland. Triathlon Festival in Susz is a long tradition of sports that has no equal in Poland. It is a great holiday for residents – each year over 200 volunteers take part in the organization and service of the competition. Welcome and join us!


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Susz Triathlon, TRIATHLON SUSZ, Polish Triathlon Championships, www.swim.by, Poland Triathlon, SUSZ TRIATHLON History, Swim.by

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Photo: © Maratomania / Susz Triathlon


© Cezary Oracki / Rafał Masny / Municipal Office in Susz / Susz Triathlon

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