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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!

Husky Triathlon – 16/17 February 2013

Report by Caroline Makin

Masters swimmers are not noted for their cycling and running ability, but six Viking ladies took part on 16/17 February 2013, in the the Husky Long Course Triathlon Festival at Jervis Bay, which has grown to become one of Australia’s most loved triathlon events with a packed program that includes Sprint & Enticer distance triathlons, Ocean Swim, Fun Runs and MINIMAN kids’ triathlon at a spectacular spot on the NSW coastline at Jervis Bay.

First up for the Saturday races were Atsuko McGowan, Nicolee Martin, Caroline Makin and Kristen Leydon who all took part in the 2575 Sprint Triathlon on the Saturday morning: a 750m swim, 20km cycle and a 5km run. Katrina Burgess also took on the swim leg as part of a female team “Spicy Racks” in the Sprint distance.

First off was Atsuko in wave 4 with the 30-34 Females.  The others wished her good luck and off she went on the 750m swim course, next up 5 minutes later in wave 5 with the 45-49 Females, went Nicolee, then another 5 minutes later in wave 6, Caz and Kristen set off with the 40-44 Females.  Finally, Katrina set off in the swim leg for her team.

Our Vikings came up trumps in the swim legs (despite the painful 50m run up beach and massive steep staircase to the top of the cliff to the transition timing point!) with Caz finishing 1st in her age group in 13:06 from 102 swimmers, Nicolee 2nd from 49 swimmers in her age group in 13:31, Atsuko 8th from 126 in her age group in 13:48 and Kristen 33rd from 102 in her age group in 16:37.  Katrina finished the swim in 13:15 and 1st place from 12 female team swimmers.  If only the swim was longer and equilateral …. then us swimmers would be more on an equal standing with those triathletes who are good runners and cyclists!!

Overall, our ladies did us proud in an event that is heavily weighted against good swimmers, with final placings as follows:


Nicolee: 1:33:12, F45-49, 14th/48
Caz1:39:04, F40-44, 59th/102
Atsuko: 1:46:29, F30-34, 108th/126
Kristen: 1:47:43, F40-44, 88th/102

Katrina: (“Spicy Racks” Team): 1:19:00, Female Team, 1st/12

Full Sprint distance results are available.

What a great morning of racing and team camaraderie, with fellow Viking, Jill Blomeley (more on her to come!), cheering on the ladies at transition going out on the bike and the run legs and Scott Makin and Luke McGowan cheering on their spouses and taking photos!  No surprise that the first stop after a hose pipe shower was to head to the Husky Pub for a beer or two!!

Next up was Jill Blomeley who all took part in the Long Course Triathlon on the Sunday morning: a 2km swim, 83km cycle and a 20km run.  Very impressively, Jill has progressed from Sprint distance to Olympic distance and most recently to Long Course triathlons in the last 3 years.  The Long Course distance is a huge event and sells out almost as soon as it is open for registration. This was to be Jill’s second Long Course triathlon after her debut towards the end of 2012 at  Port Macquarie.

Jill set off in the swim leg at 8:30am in one of the later waves with the 30-34 Females. Caz went down to the beach to see her come out of the water and head up the steep staircase to transition. Caz then ran up the other staircase to catch Jill coming out of the bike transition to start the first of her three 27km laps on the cycle leg.

Nicolee and Kristen were waiting at the Vincentia shops to cheers Jill into the final stages of her first lap, whilst Caz and Scott were waiting by the Husky pub to cheer Jill on at the start of her second and third laps on the bike.

Jill completed the mammoth distance in a time of 5:47:10, finishing 50th from 54 in her Female 30-34 age group, and 188th from 247 Females. Jill’s swim leg was a solid 36:32 for the 2km course.

Massive congratulations Jill, we “sprinters” are all totally in awe of you completing the total 105km event …. you truly are an “Iron Person”!

Full Long Course results are available.

Husky Ocean Swim Classic – 15 February 2013

Report by Caroline Makin

The Husky Ocean Swim Classic 1k is part of the huge Husky Triathlon festival weekend.  Three of our members: Nicolee Martin, Kristen Leydon and Caroline Makin decided to dip their toes into the ocean at Jervis Bay on the evening of Friday 15 February 2013, as a warm up for their Sprint Triathlon the following morning.

The three Vikings lined up for the deep water start along with the other 77 female swimmers to take on the 1km swim course at this fabulous location.  The water was a pleasant temperature, and looked deceptively calmer than in actual reality –  there was a bit of a chop to fight against, particularly on the way out to the first buoy on the triangular course.




Caz put in a strong swim to come over the finish line in a time of 16:02 taking 2nd place in the Female 40-49 category, with Nicolee also swimming very well and following close behind in 16:09 to take 3rd place.  ‘Iron Woman’  Kristen put in a sterling effort to come home in 20:34, taking 14th place in the same category.  Overall, the ladies placed 13th, 14th and 47th respectively, from 80 female competitors.

Full results are available.