Menlo School students win Lake Tahoe Olympic Triathlon

by Pam McKenney on September 15, 2023

They had never competed in a triathlon together yet three Menlo seniors Sam Warman (left), Sam Engel (middle) and Max Talwar (right) recently won the Lake Tahoe Olympic Triathlon Relay.

Warman kicked off the race with a .93-mile swim, then Engel completed a 22-mile bike ride before Talwar ran 6 miles. The three completed the triathlon relay in 3:09.13 at Sugar Pine.

The trio had been training for about two months before the triathlon. Talwar spent a week running at altitude the week prior while with Menlo’s cross country team for their annual event.

Warman, who raced the swim leg, has been swimming competitively for five years and co-captained the varsity swim team. Lately, however, he’s been concentrating on rowing so there was a lot of cross training before the triathlon.

“I was nervous going in as over the last month I have really started to specialize in my other sport, rowing, so I haven’t had the chance to swim nearly as much as I’d like,” he said.

The team’s cyclist, Engel is used to his feet being on the ground as co-captain of the varsity tennis team. He had little experience bike racing before this past summer when he did get to practice on the Tahoe course.

“I knew that it was going to be a very hilly and difficult race,” he said. “I have only been biking seriously this summer. Luckily, Sam Warman is an amazing swimmer, and Max is an incredible runner. Sam started strong, placing first in the swim by three whole minutes in a 25-minute race. I then biked my part — I felt great about my time and was able to stay in the top three relay bikers. Finally, Max caught up to the team ahead and clinched the victory for us.”

There was no celebration immediately after as the trio waited for other heats and individual races were complete.

“When I crossed the finish line I just felt really happy,” Talwar said. “We were all a little nervous though because we weren’t sure at the time if we had won, and when our names were called as the winners it was a super good feeling — it felt like it was the culmination of a lot of training and sacrifice.”

Warman agreed and they all enjoyed the team aspect of the competition.

“Everything seemed to click into place, and I think the fact that we knew we had two others counting on us really motivated each of us to perform at our very best,” Warman said. “It was an immensely gratifying surprise to hear our names called up for first place. It was definitely a fantastic way to start the school year.”

The trio plans to race again together. For now, Warman will continue rowing, Engel will be playing tennis, and Talwar’s cross country season is under way.


Jennifer Talwar September 16, 2023 at 7:32 am

So proud of these boys!

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lauren meltzer September 16, 2023 at 12:05 pm

So impressive! Love their teamwork and attitudes!

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Honora Carson September 16, 2023 at 12:08 pm

Congratulations, Sam. What a wonderful feeling for you, and being part of a new team and not even in your best sport. Awesome.

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