Over the course of the past 12 months I had the amazing opportunity to be a recipient of the SCTA/ Protector Aluminium Junior Scholarship program during the 2016/ 2017 season. With the help of Head Coach Toby Coote and contributing sponsors to the program I have had a season that is definitely one to remember. Although I had a rocky season, the scholarship provided support mentally, physically and financially.
The scholarship has offered amazing sporting equipment to help me reach my goals during the season, with products from Vorgee, Cannibal Australia, Xterra Wetsuits Australia, Mizuno Running Australia and Endura Sports Nutrition. On top of that, I received a 6-month membership from the Kawana Aquatic Centre, a series entry into the Queensland Triathlon Series from The Event Crew, and a free entry into the Luke Harrop Memorial Gold Coast Triathlon from Ironman Oceania. I am more than thankful for all the support that the sponsors of the SCTA/ Protector Aluminium Junior Scholarship have provided.
I started the season with strong goals in mind: I wanted to podium at the Queensland School Sport Triathlon Championships to further compete at the National Schools Championships in Penrith, and I wanted to make the Queensland Youth A Emerging Talent Squad. However, at the start of the season I fell behind in my running due to old worn out shoes and ineffective technique. As a result of this I suffered from painful shin splints just weeks before the Emerging Talent Squad try-outs. However, with the incredible support from Mizuno Running Australia, who offered me the lightest and most comfortable shoes I have ever warn, and Head Coach Toby Coote, who guided me to improve my running technique, my run began to improve significantly. From Mizuno, I received three pairs of shoes: the Wave Inspire 12, the Wave Sayonara 4 (my personal favourite), and the Wave Hitogami. These shoes have provided amazing comfort for my feet all year round.
From Vorgee, I received a couple pairs of goggles and swim caps, and swimming equipment including, a pool buoy, kick board, mesh bag, duffle bag, goggle bags and other various equipment throughout the season. Half way through the season I got the opportunity to try out the new Missile Eclipse goggles which were excellent at protecting my eyes during sunny swim sessions. I also received a 6-month membership from the Kawana Aquatic Centre where I did all my swim training supervised by Toby Coote. My swimming was already at a high level, yet with consistency and plenty of practise on technique my swim improved so much during the season. With the amazing support of Mizuno, Vorgee and the Kawana Aquatic Centre, I crossed off goal 1 on the list: make the Queensland Emerging Talent Squad.
Xterra Australia has also been very supportive during the season. They provided an amazing wetsuit, the Vengeance, along with an incredible speed suit and other accessories. The cold winter months were definitely made easier with my wetsuit and the speed suit was used throughout the season. The support of Xterra Australia and Vorgee together have been significant were I competed in, and won, the 1km open water swim race in the open category during the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival.
Also, Endura Sports Nutrition has been incredibly supportive as I received a variety of nutritional gels, electrolytes and bars to aid me in my training. Another main thing I learnt this year was that nutrition is very important as you need to fuel your body properly to reach your potential in training.
From Cannibal Australia, I received many racing and clothing items: ITU legal swimmers for draft legal racing in the Australian Youth Triathlon Series, a bike kit, running singlet, and SCTA uniform. Before I received gear from cannibal I was training in old, worn out bike pant that didn’t provide nearly enough comfort, especially during longer rides. I received the Cannibal bike kit and now I can ride my bike comfortably. With the support of Cannibal Australia and Toby Coote during the scholarship, my bike leg improved significantly until I crashed my bike resulting in a fractured scaphoid.
When I came off my bike it was just 7 weeks before states. At first I started doubting reaching my goal of placing at states, but then I started doubting my ability to place top 6 to go to nationals. However, with the incredible support from Head Coach Toby Coote, all the sponsors involved in the scholarship and the squad from SCTA, I was able to get back on my feet and keep those goals true. The first 4 weeks were tough as all I could do was limited run and wind trainer bike sessions. During the last week I jumped back into the pool, with my cast wrapped in plastic bags and duct tape, only to do short kick sessions. I was able to get my cast off a week early so I had a full week before states to get my swimming and bike skills up to scratch. My performance at states blew me away; although I didn’t achieve my original goal of being on the podium, I placed 4th which to me was a big achievement. I then continued onto Nationals and placed 8th; same position as the previous year.
I am very proud of my performance during the 2016/ 2017 triathlon season and I am more than thankful for all the support I have received from all the sponsors involved in the SCTA/ Protector Aluminium Junior Scholarship: Mizuno Running Australia, Vorgee, Cannibal Australia, Xterra Wetsuits Australia, Endura Sports Nutrition, Kawana Aquatic Centre, The Event Crew and Ironman Oceania, and Head Coach Toby Coote. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who is passionate about training and racing but is struggling to reach their goals financially. A huge thank you for all the support and I can’t wait to see what I achieve next season.
Some of my results over the year:
School Sport Nationals Triathlon Championships
Individual Race – 600m swim/ 16km bike/ 4km run
Race Result - 8th Place Intermediate Female
Team Race – 300m swim/ 5km bike/ 1.5km run (Each member of the team of 4 completed a whole triathlon)
Race Result - 5th Place Intermediate Mixed
I had a good lead up to the race; I was well hydrated and made sure I got enough rest. My goal for this race was to do better than last year, which was 8th. When we got to the race venue the morning of the race I was feeling comfortable and fresh. When I racked my bike in transition I did a few run-throughs while pretending to racing to get my bearings and to make sure I didn’t miss my bike during the race. After I finished in transition I made sure I stayed warm and relaxed while watching the races before mine. When the time came I started my warm up. I did a 10 minute jog alongside the run course then headed to the swim start to do a swim warm up. For my swim warm up I did an easy swim followed by sprints and practice starts.
We got to choose our position in the water before the start, so as soon as the briefing was over all the competitors raced to get that far right position next to the swim can. Luckily I was the first one there so I got a clear water when the gun went. I had a great start, I was second to the first can and it remained that way for the rest of the swim. On the way back towards the swim finish, the sun was directly in my view of the exit but luckily I was wearing my Vorgee Missile Eclipse Goggle because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to see the exit clearly. When I touched the bottom I jumped up and started running into transition, I looked back once just to see where everyone was.
When I started riding I could see that I was part of a group with four other cyclists, and we were the lead pack. Since my crash, my bike confidence has slowly been building back up, so when we got to the first corner I made sure I was the first one there to give myself plenty of time to turn but after that my legs were fried. I didn’t feel especially great on the bike. I didn’t feel like I had the strength to help on the front as much as usual, but I still tried to do my share. By the time we finished the bike leg, the chase group had caught up a little bit of ground on us. I knew every second would count so I had a speedy transition and was one of the first ones out.
I had a good start to the run, but I probably started out a little bit too hard. We just had a two lap course so I tried to image that I was doing four 1km repeats. I felt like I wasn’t going that fast but after looking back on my pace after the race it was one of my best runs for the season – out of the races I did do. I crossed the line in 8th place. Even though my goal was to beat my result from last year, I was still happy with my result because of all the obstacles faced during the season. I didn’t do much of a cool down, I just watched the rest of the races and cheered on my teammates.
My legs were burned out after the previous day’s performance yet I still felt fresh. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that much of a warm up in because transition opened so late and the race start was so soon. However, I did manage to get a small swim warm up in. I was first to start in my team and it was a dive start, so if I had a bad dive I wouldn’t get clear water to swim in. After my swim warm up, the start time kept getting delayed so I and to make sure I kept moving around and stayed warm.
When we were eventually told to line up, I once again took the right side of the platform. The closest group of people to me were about 1 metre away, crowding the person who was first out of the water the day before even though I had the closest route to the first can. As soon as the gun went I was first to the first can and led the whole swim and by the time I finished the swim I had a decent gap on the next person.
I sprinted into transition but as soon as I jumped onto my bike my legs were toast and I felt weak. The main group caught me and swallowed me into their pack just before transition. As a result, I was pushed to the back of the pack and was the last person to jump of my bike going into transition. However, I had one of the fastest transitions and was the second person onto the run. I held my ground for about 200 metres but my legs were so heavy from doing the whole bike leg myself. By the end of my race I was the fifth or sixth person to tag my teammate.
Once again, I didn’t do much of a cool down as I wanted to watch the rest of my team race. Our team ended up finishing in 5th place.
Overall, I’m happy with my performance and proud to have had a good end to the season. I am more than thankful to have had the support of the Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy/ Protector Aluminium Junior Scholarship throughout the season.
Luke Harrop Memorial – Gold Coast Triathlon (Sunday)
Enticer Distance – 300m swim/ 10km bike/ 2.5km run
Date - 9th April 2017
Race Result - 1st Place U/16 and 2nd Female Overall
With nationals right around the corner, I didn’t want to race further than my race distance, so I did the enticer. I used this race to get the legs moving for nationals the following week.
For my warm up I did the usual 10-minute jog, then did some run drills and a few sprints. Before I started my swim warm up I swung my arms around and had a good stretch. During my swim warm up I did an easy swim followed by a few ins-and-outs. On the first in-and-out I discovered that the water was a lot shallower than I anticipated and I ended up doing a bellyflop. I probably should have taken the time to walk out to waist deep and examine the area before diving in. I learned my lesson that time and made sure to wade further out before diving. In the time between my warm up and start I kept my arms moving and made sure I stayed warm.
On the start line I made sure to get as far right as possible to have the shortest route to the turning buoy. Before the start, I waded out to waist deep water and made sure I knew the depth of the water. We got a 10-second count down before the go and everyone was slowly creeping forward. When the horn went I waded out as far as possible (not making the same mistake as in my warm up) before diving in. I was first out to the buoy and expanded my lead throughout the swim. The sun was shining bright behind the first turning can, but thanks to my Vorgee Eclipse Missile goggles I could see the first buoy perfectly. By the end of the swim, I had a decent lead.
I was confident coming into transition. I knew exactly where my bike was and got my helmet on quickly – transition training with Head Coach Toby Coote was really paying off. I sprinted out of transition with my bike but hesitated to mount it as there were two people blocking the line. As a result, I ran about 25 metres passed the line before mounting. I started out strong on the bike but quickly tired. I didn’t feel very strong throughout the second half of the ride and my cadence felt slow and heavy. However, coming back into transition for the second time was a good feeling because I only had a 2.5km run to go.
Once again, I had a fast transition, I was familiar with where my bike went. I slipped on my Mizuno Hitogami shoe sand Cannibal race belt, and sprinted out of transition. As a result of having a slow cadence on the bike, my legs were a bit slow during the first half of the run. But during the second half I managed to pick up my speed and have a faster finish than start. I crossed the line first in the u16 category and waited for my sister to finish, who won the u14 category.
Overall, I am happy with my performance. I had a speedy swim thanks to Vorgee Eclipse Missile goggles and although I suffered slightly on the bike, I finished with a good run in my Mizuno Hitogami shoes.
WTS Round 2 (Saturday)
The day before my race was the second round of the World Triathlon Series, which also doubled as a Commonwealth games selection for the Australians. It was an amazing experience to watch the elites race in person. It is still my goal to race in the WTS and to represent Australia at the Olympics, so watching the elite race in person was so exciting, motivating and inspirational.
QSS State Triathlon Championships – Hervey Bay
Intermediate – 600m/16km/4km
Race Result - 4th Place - Queensland Team Selection
The day before the race we had our team meeting and photos done. After this I headed down to the beach to do a swim warm up with the SCTA crew to test out the conditions. A few ins-and-outs later I headed back to the hotel room to pack for the next day and get to sleep.
For dinner, I had pasta before getting some sleep. I didn’t have the greatest sleep but when I woke up the next morning I still felt ready to race. I’ve learned that preparation is not what you do a day or two before the race, but weeks before the race. It’s about eating the right foods, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep, so I found that the night before my race didn’t have a major impact on my performance. After eating toast, I re-checked my Cannibal bag to make sure I had everything I needed.
I’m really glad all my race gear fits perfectly in my bag. After riding down to the event area, I got myself numbered up (218) and set up my transition with my Mizuno shoes and Cannibal race belt.
Just after the senior girls started, I began my warm up: 10-minute jog followed by strides and then I headed down to the water to do a swim warm up. It was a really bright day so I decided to use my Vorgee Missile Eclipse googles as they block out the sun’s glare very well.
Eventually the time came where we headed to transition for briefing and then to the start line. Instantly after the boys started, all the girls raced down to the start line to get into a good position for the start. I managed to be very close to the outside so I didn’t have to deal with kicking and elbows during the swim; especially since my wrist just finished healing. I had a really great start; I ran into the water with full speed so there was no one to push me aside. I was one of the first to reach the first buoy. I had an average swim; it wasn’t my fastest but I’m still proud of it considering the conditions.
About 50m from the beach I picked up the pace a little more. As soon as my hand touched the ground I stood up and ran, but as a took my cap off, it fell out of my hand and I had to go back and get it to avoid a penalty. After I sprinted out of transition with my bike, I mounted and raced the first 100m before settling into a steady rhythm.
I paced behind the girl in front of me for the whole ride. Coming back into transition I was in second place. I racked my bike, put on my Mizuno shoes, grabbed my race belt and bolted out of transition. I can confidently say that my hand was as clumsy as ever because I didn’t put my race belt on properly and I dropped it… again. Once again, I had to go back and pick up my race belt. I then caught straight back up to first place and stayed with her for the first kilometre, until the lack of running off the bike practice took its toll.
I backed off a little bit but the adrenaline of being in a podium position was exhilarating. After the first lap, I was sitting in third place all the way until about half way back from the second lap. I dropped back to fourth place but I was still so happy with how the race was going. I finished in fourth place with an ear-to-ear smile.
Although my goal at the beginning of the season was to come top three, I still could not be more happier with my race. I started the season with shin splints and ended it with a fractured wrist and yet I still get to represent Queensland for the third year in a row.
Next goal: place top 8 at National Schools Triathlon Champs in Penrith on 18th-21st April.
A massive thanks to Head Coach Toby Coote at Sunshine Coast Tri Academy and all the sponsors involved in the Junior Scholarship for their support and encouragement.
About three weeks ago I had a crash on my bike resulting in a fractured scaphoid (a bone in the wrist). At the time I was probably more disappointed than hurt because round 2 of the Australian Junior Tri Series was just 2 weeks away and QLD School Sport State Champs is just around the corner. But I tried to stay positive: it was the perfect chance to observe an important race from a different perspective, and it gave me a good chance to work on my weakest leg which is the run – for now.
ROBINA – ROUND 2 OF AJTS (SATURDAY) AND ROUND 5 OF QTS (SUNDAY)
Everyone expected a super hot weekend but the conditions turned out to be wet and cold on Saturday, which is not ideal weather, especially for a draft-legal race. Watching all the competitors warm up made me jealous because I couldn’t race, and watching them race just made me more motivated. With the wet conditions there were a couple of crashes and I hope everyone involved has a speedy recovery.
The conditions were much better the following day: the sun was behind the clouds and the temperature was cool and dry. It was a real eye opener watching everyone race in non-drafting compared to drafting because the results were different. I could tell that all the competitors who raced on Saturday were tired for Sunday.
Not being able to race gave me a chance to see a totally difference perspective from my fellow competitors that I wouldn't normally see as I would of been racing.
If there’s one thing I learnt from (watching) these races, it’s that everyone is hurting just as much as the next person… also that spectating is a lot harder than it seems, but at least I was comfortable in my Mizuno shoes.
RUNAWAY BAY SUPER SPRINT RACE WEEKEND
(Round 1 of the Australian Junior Triathlon Series)
Round one of the Australian Junior Triathlon Series – Runaway Bay Super Sprint Race Weekend. It was fast and furious weekend, to accumulate points in short and sharp races, and I was excited (and nervous) to be a part of it. The event format caters for track runners and it was a perfect opportunity to race against my weakness – the run (for now). The weekend consisted of 5 races for the Youth and 6 races for the Juniors: aquathlon, criterium, track run and two triathlons (3 for the juniors).
Make the A Final (top 18)
200m swim/ 1200m run
This was my first race of the day so I was nervous. The only time to do any sort of swim warm up was before 9:45, even if my heat wasn’t supposed to start until 11:20 (third heat). For my swim warm up I did 300m plus a couple of practice starts and finishes. Briefing for all athletes then began at 10:00.
When the time came, I did my run warm up with another SCTA competitor who was also in my heat. Our warm up consisted of 10 minutes of jogging and run drills to warm up the legs and another 5 minutes of stretching. Since we could only do one swim warm up before, I spent the next 15 minutes swinging my arms and keeping them loose before my race start.
I had a very good start, I dived in and immediately set out at a fast, comfortable pace. I was equal with everyone for the first 50m but after that I held my pace as the other competitors started to drop off and got a small head start for the rest of the race. I sprinted into transition and put on my Mizuno shoes on quickly, then I started the 1200m run. I felt confident in my run and managed to hold off second place until the last lap. I crossed the line in 3rd for my heat and 9th overall.
BIKE CRITERIUM (Le Mans start)
300m run/ 4km bike/ 300m run
This is one of the races I was looking forward to the most for the day as I have improved so much on my bike strength and handling with the help of head coach Toby Coote. Since the bike track was in use, I could only do a run warm up. 20 minutes prior to my heat I started my warm up and got ready for the quick 300m start.
On the start line I positioned myself where it was less crowded to prevent myself from getting swarmed by the other competitors. I headed into transition in about 5th but was one of the first ones out (those hours of transition practice really pay off). I mounted my bike and sprinted around the initial corners after the mount line. When the group caught up we rode as a group but not really working well as a team.
When the turn-around came for the second lap I made sure I was at the front because I knew I had put in the practice of getting around the corners fast. I made a small gap on the pack but hesitated and waited for them. Going into transition I was second, but once again came out first. I was really excited about being first but I didn’t realise how drained my legs were from doing a lot of work on the bike and I crossed the line in 5th.
Looking back on this race I know there is a lot that I have learned from it. I know I can handle my bike better and I know from the last time I raced, my bike strength had improved so much. After thinking about what I could have done differently, there is one thing that stands out: I did more work on the bike than I should of and as a result I tired my legs for the run. This race really showed that a moment of hesitation or doubt can put yourself in a difficult position. I should have done the second half of the bike by myself when I had the chance.
800m track run
After a long day of racing was tired and by the last race my head was not in the game for the 800m run. I did a small warm up but it was definitely not enough. The start line was very crowded and when the whistle went everyone fought to get that inside lane. I held a decent pace for the first lap because of the adrenaline but after a careless warm up I tired quickly in the second lap. I still held a position in the middle of the heat but by the last 100m I lost a couple more positions and as a result I didn’t make the final.
SUPER SPRINT TRI (Heat)
200m swim/ 4km bike/ 1200m run
After the crit race I had one goal for this race: get out of the swim in front and see if I can go by myself on the bike.
I was really nervous but looking forward to this race. I was excited to put all my experience from the previous day into this race to achieve a better outcome. Once again, I did an early swim warm up in case the pool wasn’t open later (which it turned out to be open). My warm up was very similar to the one I did in the aquathlon this time I only did a 200m swim plus practice starts and finishes. After the warm up I got changed into something dry because it would be a couple hours before my race start. Before I started my warm up I had an Endura Gel to give me a bit more energy without having to eat too much.
At 30 minutes before my race I started my land warm up, I did 10 minutes’ worth of jogging and strides; I spent a further 5 minutes stretching and doing muscle activations. Now with 15 minutes before my race I headed to the pool and did the same swim warm up I did earlier that morning. After that I continuously swung my arms before the start.
I had a good swim, I was in the same lane as another competitor who swims about the same pace as I do so we kept each other going. I hoped out of the pool quickly and sprinted into transition and came out with a gap on the next few competitors. Thinking back on the criterium I knew this was my chance to put my goal to the test. I mounted my bike and sprinted as hard as I could before putting my shoes on. I didn’t make much ground but at least I had about 75m of a head start as a began the run. My legs tired still tired from the bike, I did my best to hold off second and third place until I was caught near the last lap.
I finished my heat in 3rd and it was the 6th fastest time overall. The points I scored over the whole weekend put me in 8th at this point and it was enough to put me in the A final later that day.
SUPER SPRINT TRI (Grand final)
200m swim/ 4km bike/ 1200m run
After the heat, I was really hyped to see what I could do in the final, I was super nervous. Once again, I started my warm up 30 minutes before my start and followed my usual routine. I was ready to have a race similar to the heat. I was positioned next to a different competitor who was also about my speed in the pool again and through the whole swim we pushed each other. We were the first two out of the water but I was the first into transition and the first out. When I got my bike, the others were not that far behind so I sprinted as hard as I could to the mount line and sprinted the initial corners and onto the track.
Almost immediately I was caught by another strong cyclist who I worked well with but there was another girl with her who spent a great deal of time screaming at us to go faster for her but refused to share the load. As a result, I was quite shaken but it has been a huge learning experience about how to be stronger mentally and the importance of treating other competitors with respect. By the end of the first lap we ended up as one big pack and came off the bike as one large group.
When we came into transition I racked my bike but struggled to get my shoes on, they were no tighter than they were before but I began panicking as the other competitors ran out if transition. When I finally got them on I sprinted out of transition but settled into a slower than usual pace. After previous obstacles in the race I was in a negative head space and I shouldn’t have been affected as much as I was. I finished the race in 14th. I wasn’t particularly happy with this race but there was nothing I could do to change it.
Regardless of the outcome I made sure to congratulate all the competitors after each race because in the end we all put in our best effort to reach our goal