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Wollongong Triathlon – 8/10 March 2013

Report by Luke McGowan

A group of Vikings headed to the coast 8 to 10 March 2013 to participate in the Wollongong “Trithegong Triathlon Festival”.

Having arrived in Wollongong earlier than expected on the Friday afternoon, Atsuko McGowan decided on a last minute entry to the opening event of the Trithegong festival —  for the 1km ocean swim.

Joining 35 male and female swimmers, Atsuko completed the 1km circuit course in Wollongong harbour in 15 minutes 25 seconds. The strong performance saw Atsuko place 1st in her age group, 3rd of all females and 9th place out of all swimmers.  Full ocean swim results are available.

On the Saturday, it was Luke McGowan’s turn to enter the water as part of the beginner level triathlon known as an Enticer Triathlon.  The event began with a 300m open water swim in Wollongong harbour.  After the initial shock of his first plunge into an open water swim and dodging elbows and legs everywhere, Luke completed the course in a leisurely 6 minutes 13 seconds.  Luke went on to complete the 7km bike ride and 2km run in a total time on 35 minutes 21 seconds placing 15th in his age group and 84th out of 129 male competitors. Full enticer results are available.

On Sunday, Atsuko McGowan headed back to the harbour accompanied by Caroline Makin and Nicolee Martin for the Sprint Triathlon.  Caz and Nicolee headed out first completing the supposed 750m course in 8 minutes 17 seconds and 8 minutes 26 seconds respectively.  Caz was the first female over 40 (all those 40+ ladies swimming in one wave) out of the water and this saw Caz place 1st in her age group and Nicolee place 2nd in her age group  in the swim leg. Caz’s watch recorded her swim as 495m, so just less than two-third of the standard swim leg in a Sprint Triathlon.  It was apparent as the ladies swam in this wave through the boats moored in the harbour, that the second marker buoy had moved much closer towards the beach then it should have been and thus the greatly reduced distance and fast times for ’750m’.

Atsuko’s age group headed out two waves behind the older ladies.  It was unclear whether it was a result of the Japanese “Devine wind”, a strong current, the buoys moving closer to the beach, or a favourable timing chip, but Atsuko and the rest of her wave recorded impossibly fast times for the ’750m’ course. Atsuko stormed through to record an official time of 6 minutes and 20 seconds and placing 3rd in her age group in the swim leg.

With their favourite but shortest leg of the triathlon over, the ladies headed out of the water for the 20km bike ride which included a steep hill at the start and end of the 7km course, which they rode 3 times and then onto the 5km run.  To make matters more difficult for our swimmers against the triathletes, the run course was unusually long at 5.5km and much of it across grassy trails rather then pathways.

All three Vikings performed well, but found themselves much lower down the rankings than normal due to the reduced swim distance on their strongest leg, and the skightly longer than usual run leg.

Final results were Nicolee (7th in age group), Atsuko (32nd in age group) and Caz (21st in age group), registering official times of 1 hour 31 minutes 54 seconds, 1 hour 35 minutes 40 seconds, and 1 hour 38 minutes 26 seconds respectively. Full sprint results are available.

Atsuko and Luke’s kids also took part in the MiniMan Triathlon where they swam 100m in the harbour, cycled 3.6km and then ran 600m on the Saturday morning – what a family of triathletes the McGowan’s are turning out to be!

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