Last weekend saw two athletes from the University of Exeter compete in the European age group championships in Lisbon, Portugal. Jack Bristow and Harry Preston both raced in the standard distance competition in the M20-24 and M19u categories respectively.
Despite the 7:15am race start, both guys were raring to go. Harry was looking to repeat his strong performance in Geneva last year where he finished 3rd while for Jack this was his first time competing at this level.
Both of them felt disappointed by their swims, with Harry getting dragged back and being on the receiving end of a few kicks and punches towards the start and Jack frustrated that he missed a split in the field and ended up wasting energy working on the front of a second group that formed early on. Despite this, neither Jack nor Harry were left out of contention by the end of the swim.
After a couple of seamless transitions it was time for the bike leg. After taking a couple of kilometers for his legs to fire up properly, Jack made a significant move up the field with the fastest bike split for his age group, putting himself right back into medal contention. Harry was disappointed with his bike, feeling like he never really got going. Despite this by the end of the bike he had moved up into 3rd in his age group.
Despite the fact that it was still before 9am it was already starting to get quite warm. This didn’t help Jack and Harry who were both suffering slightly by this point. Both felt unable to push on and really attack the race, instead settling into a rhythm and contenting themselves to merely get through the run. Harry was able to comfortably hold onto 3rd place, significantly increasing his lead over 4th place, however Jack was passed on the first of four laps and was unable to follow.
This meant that Harry and Jack finished 3rd and 4th in their respective age groups. While Jack was disappointed to come so close to a medal he, along with Harry, was happy to have pre-qualified for next year’s European championships in Kitzbuhl, Austria. Overall it was a fantastic performance from both of them and a great way to conclude the club’s racing for the 2015/16 academic year. Club alumnus James Phillips also finished 2nd in the 20-24 age group for the sprint distance.
You can find all the club’s results from Lisbon as well as other international competitions on the Honours Board: http://universityofexetertriathlon.co.uk/honours/
Harry Preston – M19u – 3rd – 2:09:50
Jack Bristow – M20-24 – 4th – 2:02:37