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Portuguese age-group aquathlon championships

-By: Tomas Swift-Metcalfe

Last modified: May 18, 2014

An aquathlon is swimming and running, usually 750m swim and 5km run

I realise that what I need to do to get good at triathlon, is to do short, fast events to hone the skills necessary in the most competitive environment possible, where every second counts.

The Portuguese age-group aquathlon championships were the perfect opportunity to do this, in my two weakest sports. What’s more with a load of top juniors and elites, the race had a very good standard, so it was a good opportunity to see where I was at.

Swimming: things can go very wrong, very quickly!

I basically lost any opportunity of doing a quick time right in the first moments I lined up in the sprint. There was a strong current in the estuary and there were loads of people eagerly fighting for position on the up side of the current on the start line. I took it easy and didn’t bother: In a bike race I’d rock up at the back of a peloton at the start and find my way where ever I wanted, so I kind of had this logic about it; that the race would put each in his place. That was a mistake: I got mauled by a huge group at the first buoy, it was like being a fish in a net… with the other fish kicking, punching and scratching. I ended up treading water and swimming with my head up for ages.

The swim course was particularly nasty with four buoys to go round and that tremendous current. Each bend in a swim course is effectively ‘pinch point’ and this complicates things. The course was too short for any order to be established, unless you were able to get to that first buoy quickly!

Being in the cold water for 20′ before the race didn’t help me either. I hate the cold and get hypothermia very easily. Although I didn’t get hypothermia, I was shivering.

The swim time was horrendous: 14:08, 61 out of the water. I go faster any day of the week, it was really bad. This was cyclist bad.

I’ll train more for the swim and go back to the dreaded pool to tune up.

the run

The run was on a twisty little course with a couple of bends in the middle, cobble stones and two turn around points that we had to go round 3 times. For this reason it was full of traffic. Bizarrely I found it difficult to decelerate turn and accelerate all those times.

My run, 17:55 (9th fastest) was not amazing, but I was happy with that. The top guy Vasco Pessoa and Olympic hopeful did it in 16:38. I enjoyed the run, it felt easy and controlled. Given how much I’ve trained, I’m pretty chuffed.

in summary

You can find the full results here:
Check out that crop of amazing Portuguese junior athletes at the front! It will be interesting to see how they go in a few years time.

age-group podium

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