The inaugural ÖTILLÖ was held on the first Sunday in September 2006, with nine teams of two at the starting line. Only two teams finished, the winners, Team Sandhamn, current Adventure Racing World Champions from Finland, won on inflatable Nokia telephones. This led to rule change number one: a size restriction on floatation devices.
ÖTILLÖ grabbed media attention right from the get go, spreading the event to more and more people. Without ÖTILLÖ there would be no swimrun, but it wasn't until 2012, when three more events saw first light in Sweden (Ångaloppet, Öloppet, Amfibiemannen), that Michael and Mats realised that they had actually started a new sport.
Around the same time, Swede Erika Rosenbaum, an ÖTILLÖ podium finisher, coined the phrase swimrun, which she later registered as a trademark. After speaking with her, Michael and Mats started naming ÖTILLÖ the sport of swimrun and, thanks to extensive ÖTILLÖ media coverage, the name swimrun has caught on.
In 2017, there will be more than 400 swimrun events around the world. ARTICLE FIRST PUBLISHED IN SWIMRUN LIFE MAGAZINE ISSUE # 1 (FEB/MAR 2017)