The first race of the new year took place on a bright and relatively warm winters morning in Dawlish. The weather bore no hint of the destruction that would be unleashed on the seaside town the following week. Though the sunshine was appreciated, the weather wasn’t particularly high on the list of priorities of the nine club members taking part in the Aquathlon. They were more focused on the 600 meter swim and the 5 kilometer run ahead of them. Throughout the day, they were cheered on by their fellow competitors and other club members who had come to watch.
First to start was Laurence Higgins. This was his first competitive swimming event, so it was understandably a bit of a learning curve. Laurence felt that he swam well and, despite slight troubles with the transition and with pacing the run, performed well and finished 23rd. Next up were Lee Markham, in his first ever race, and Flo Taylor. Lee’s inexperience showed in his transition but he had a great run and finished 20th. Flo was one of the first out of the swim but suffered from shin splints on the run. Despite this, she finished 7th.
Milly Lewis was the next to go, starting with a well paced swim in which she got into a good rhythm. The hills around the run course broke this rhythm somewhat, but Milly still finished with a sprint finish to place 5th. Ollie Teenan followed Milly. He improved on last year’s time to finish 8th, but was slightly disappointed as he’d hoped to improve by a bigger margin. He is looking forward to improving his swimming over the coming season. After Ollie, Jack Turner, Harriet Browning and Jack Bristow were the next to start the swim. Harriet and Jack B were both very happy with being the first to finish the swim, racing each other to the end of the last length. Jack T started well, but accidentally did two extra lengths, putting him behind. He was disappointed with his run, where he never recovered from poor pacing on the swim, but still finished 11th overall. Harriet enjoyed the run, and finished 1st. Jack B also had a good run, which he spent racing closely with another competitor. He was ultimately beaten at the end but still finished 6th.
James Phillips was last to start, competing in the most competitive, final wave. Pre-race nerves meant he was slightly tense during the swim, which set him back a bit, but once out of the water he had a great run and was able to catch up to everyone but the eventual winner, just being beaten for 2nd in a sprint finish. Nevertheless, 3rd is a fantastic result and James is really looking forward to the coming races.
This was a great event for the club, with several members placing highly and everyone having an enjoyable experience. We are all looking forward to the Sidmouth Aquathlon on March 9th.
Some quotes from those who took part:
“The Aquathlon was a great event as there were so many supporters there from Exeter and a good friendly competition.” – Harriet
“At least it was sunny!” – Ollie
“If I did the same event again tomorrow I reckon I’d be a lot faster, but I think it was a really good experience. I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned when I compete at the Sidmouth Aquathlon.” – Laurence
“Despite the slightly chilly weather we all had fantastic fun and thank you to Harriet for the post run cookies!” – Milly
“It was lovely to see some of the team there who weren’t doing the event supporting others!” – Lee
The full results for University of Exeter Triathlon Club members are as follows:
James Phillips, 3rd – 26:42
Jack Bristow, 6th – 28:14
Ollie Teenan, 8th – 30:46
Jack Turner, 11th – 31:18
Lee Markham, 20th – 36:00
Laurence Higgins, 23rd – 37:55
Harriet Browning, 1st – 30:17
Milly Lewis, 5th – 33:59
Flo Taylor, 7th – 37:08
Full results can be found here.