Interview with Katrin Simioni

co-founder of the swissman Xtreme Triathlon

Der SWISSMAN ist ein point to point Wettkampf, welcher im Süden der Schweiz startet und über drei Alpenpässe ins Herz der Schweiz führt.

Das Ziel wird nach einem Schlussanstieg am Fusse der massiven Bergkulisse von Eiger, Mönch und Jungfrau erreicht. Das Rennen ist eine extreme Herausforderung mit über 5750 Höhenmeter und verwöhnt die Beteiligten mit einer atemberaubend schönen Landschaft. Die Organisatoren bieten auf der Lauf- und Radstrecke nur minimalen Support an. Es liegt in der Verantwortung der Supporter, ihre Athleten während des Rennens mit allem Notwendigen zu versorgen. Diese Tatsache macht den SWISSMAN nicht nur für die Athleten, sondern auch für die Supporter zur Herausforderung. Beide erleben den Anlass gemeinsam und teilen unvergessliche Erinnerungen.

Interview with Katrin Simioni

co-founder of the swissman Xtreme Triathlon

How did you come up with the idea of SWISSMAN?

Having competed in the Norseman triathlon in Norway, I felt exhilarated and inspired by the experience, as did my friends and family. It was so thrilling and such a contrast to more traditional triathlons whose sole focus is performance.  

Its “return to the roots” approach was the feature that really won us over, fusing a spirit of adventure with teamwork in the heart of nature. To create an exclusive event, limited to a small number of competitors in a friendly ambience: this was our dream.


Why did you choose Ascona for the start of the event?

We wanted to showcase the amazing beauty and diversity of Switzerland and Ascona, with its mild southern Alpine climate, together with the charm and culture of Ticino, emerged as an ideal choice for national and international athletes alike. The wonderful lakeside setting is a superb contrast to the mountainous backdrop of the Kleine Scheidegg, the SWISSMAN’s finish line.

The distance from the Brissago Islands to Ascona’s Lido – 3.8 km – is perfect for the long-distance swimming leg of the triathlon and so Ascona came to be our ideal starting point.


What do you especially like about Ascona?

I adore the unique combination of Ascona”s splendidly preserved old town – the Borgo – and the gorgeous lakefront.

Let’s talk about hospitality…

We received a wonderful welcome all round. The authorities, the Yacht Club, police and residents have always provided for all our needs, in terms of infrastructure, permits and of course, enthusiasm.


How are athletes selected?

Of the 250 who take part, half are Swiss and the other half are drawn from the rest of the world. There are no other criteria for entry and anyone can put themselves forward. Lady Luck will extract the winners.


How do athletes view the SWISSMAN event?

SWISSMAN takes them through the richest landscapes in Switzerland – from the palms of Ticino to the eternal ice of the Jungfrau – and all those who take part, athletes and fans alike, can experience this amazing journey. Emotions come alive when their own personal challenges  interfuse with their team’s support and collaboration and the event organisers and fellow competitors. They carry this unforgettable feeling wIth them for a very long time. Many athletes acknowledge that the friendly atmosphere is more rewarding than their own timed results.

From our point of view, the praise and respect expressed by competitors and the thrilling experience as a whole continue to inspire, energise and motivate us to make SWISSMAN an ongoing success.