ROKA, the Austin, Texas-based performance design company, has announced the signing of British professional triathlete, IRONMAN Kona runner-up, Lucy Charles. Recognised as one of the most exciting young athletes, and best swimmers in the history of the sport, Lucy Charles will train and compete with ROKA swim equipment this season, including the Maverick X wetsuit and the Viper X swimskin.
Charles first tested the Viper X swimskin in Kona last year and chose to use it on race day en-route to finishing the swim in 48:48, the second fastest time in the history of the race. She went on to finish second in her debut professional attempt at the IRONMAN World Championship, becoming just the sixth woman in history to finish the race in less than nine hours. Charles most recently dominated the IRONMAN African Championship, setting a swim course record in the ROKA Maverick X wetsuit on the way to her second professional IRONMAN victory.
“We design products for the most demanding athletes in the world and there’s no one more demanding of her swim and race equipment than Lucy,” said ROKA co-founder and CEO Rob Canales. “Every second matters when you’re trying to win the hardest single-day endurance event in the world. With the Maverick X wetsuit, Viper X swimskin, and ROKA’s suite of products, Lucy will have the fastest and most technologically advanced swim equipment in the world this season.”
He continued, “Our motto is ‘find faster’ and we’re honoured to be part of the team that helps Lucy do just that this season.”
Charles had a breakthrough year in 2017, finishing second at the IRONMAN European and World Championships, and also taking the win at IRONMAN Lanzarote, considered one of the hardest M-Dot courses in the world. Prior to competing in her first triathlon in 2014, Charles was a decorated long-distance swimmer in Great Britain, narrowly missing qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games.
“The last three years have been an incredible ride,” Lucy Charles said. “I’ve learned the importance of having good partners to achieve the lofty goals I’ve set. As soon as I dove into the water with the Viper X swimskin in Kona last year, I knew I had to race in that suit. I think it comes from my swimming background. You know if a suit feels good as soon as you dive in. I ended up turning in one of my best swim performances ever, so choosing to swim in ROKA swimwear for 2018 was an easy decision.”
In her most recent victory at the IRONMAN African Championship, Charles exited the water more than five minutes ahead of the closest athlete.
“The Maverick X feels so much different than any other wetsuit I’ve tried, especially around the shoulders,” she continued. “Other wetsuits are quite restrictive. As a swimmer, I can’t stand having my shoulders restricted. I feel like I’m free to move with the Maverick X.”
In addition to vying for her first IRONMAN World Championship win this October, the 24-year old will make her first appearance at Challenge Roth in July, taking on a world-class field at one of the fastest and most prestigious races in the sport.