Lawrence is becoming a hotbed for triathletes.
"You mean a mecca?" Lawrence's Kent Dobbins said today with a laugh.
Dobbins placed first in his 50-54 age group in a time of 1:42.4 at the Shawnee Mission Medical Center Triathlon on Sunday in Overland Park.
His training partners -- Liz Phillips and Kent McDonald -- also were winners in the 40-44 women's and men's age groups, respectively. McDonald finished the 1,100-yard swim, 18.5-mile bike ride and five-mile run in 1:30.23, while Phillips' time was 1:50.11.
Their coach, Marcel Vifian, was the overall winner in 1 hour, 23 minutes, 46 seconds. Meanwhile, Lawrence's Sherwick Min was the top finisher in the men's short-course with a time of 48:38.
To "celebrate" today, Dobbins, McDonald, Phillips and Mike Vickers, who has an achilles injury and didn't compete Sunday, were at Alvamar at 5:30 for a morning swim workout as part of his training for the Ironman competition this winter in Hawaii.
"Anybody who looks at it says, 'Geez, you're nuts,''' Dobbins said. "But we don't always go hard. Today, we had a good swim workout. We'll bike an hour-and-a-half later today. Some days are easier than others."
They follow the instruction of Vifian, a professional triathlete and a native of Switzerland who has lived in the Dobbins household the last four months. Vifian, the amateur triathlon champion in 1992 at the U.S. Nationals, has dual citizenship in Switzerland and the U.S.
Dobbins, a local optometrist, met Vifian at a swim camp in Colorado.
"I said, 'You can use Lawrence as a sleep-over spot.' I said, 'If you want to do this, fine, but if you move here, I'll demand you help coach us,''' Dobbins said.
Several local sponsors have helped send Vifian to meets. He placed 11th overall at a triathlon in St. Anthony's and 10th in St. Croix.
"He wants to do local races for the local sponsors," Dobbins said, noting Vifian will likely compete in the Lawrence Memorial Triathlon on Aug. 6.
On Sunday, Vifian defeated Richard Rosenkranz, a Kansas University graduate living in North Dakota, by two minutes.
KU grad Dan Querciagrossa placed sixth overall in 1:29.06.