Our swimmers

Penny

On 1st June I lined up for a beach start in my GB Tri suit for the first time…competing in my age group in the European Tri championship. I was absolutely terrified, not  being a great swimmer and faced with my first ever beach start the looming likely dunking from thrashing arms and legs was daunting enough. On top of that  feeling sick to the core at the thought of what was to come and just being desperate to do myself justice and have a good race! Off went the claxon and the adrenaline just took over, a few nervous strokes then calming down to find my rhythm and place in the pack of swimmers. To my huge relief after nearly half an hour the end was in sight and I hadn’t been dunked. To my even greater surprise I came out the swim with others around me and mid-field. Whip off the wetsuit, throw on a helmet and shoes and off it was for a 40km bike. Time to relax (a little) settle down, get some energy gel down and plenty of fluid as the temperatures were rising! (Having carelessly not thought about sun cream I now have some interesting tan lines from my Tri suit 😂 lesson learnt). The bike was relatively uneventful. I managed to avoid any blue cards  (2min penalties given for drafting)…although I saw plenty handed out! Last lap along the canal, then into transition. Despite all my careful planning I missed my lane, overshot it and had to turn back in a panic to find my bike racking position. 2nd lesson learnt! Swap to run shoes and off I went for a 10km run…and boy was it hot by now! Thankfully a friendly Dutchman appeared with his garden sprinkler ready to douse anyone who wanted on each of the 4 laps. It was so hot I unusually tried to take in some water but failed to be able to properly open the funny plastic bags the water came in….after a bit of a battle and a sip of water I threw it down and immediately realised my error ‘outside of the litter zone’…aaaahhh…not wanting to risk a penalty I turned around to pick it up and dutifully carry it to the next litter point – 3rd lesson learnt!. Last lap…thank goodness and the finish line looming….wow…the elation at the finish. Fourteenth…(out of 37) pretty respectable for my first GB outing…a min and half quicker and I’d be top 10…if only I could swim (Graham??).. The day was topped off by watching Alistair Brownlee win the elites…now that is how to race!
I stumbled on triathlon late in the day…being a self taught swimmer, 2 years ago I couldn’t swim frontcrawl at all (it shows!)…but for all you young swimmers, you’re off to a great start if you ever decide to give triathlon a go. GB age group teams start from 18…not far off for some of you, and if you fancy the chance to race for your country this is one way to do so….why not give it a go 🙂