It is disappointing that lake quality issues have significantly impacted the final two events of the ACT triathlon season, after a very successful season. It is doubly ironical that one lake is currently closed because of Blue-Green Algae outbreaks caused by a long hot dry summer and then followed by a week of cool nights, whilst the water quality in another lake is at risk from the suburban runoff following the downpour of last Sunday. As Dorothea MacKellar captured:
“I love a sunburnt land…of droughts and flooding lands”
The decision to cancel the ACT Aquathlon Championships on 28 February was not taken lightly by the Triathlon ACT Board, but reflected real concerns over the water quality at Lake Ginninderra and the damage to the beach and transition area. The safety of participants has to be the over-riding objective for all events. It is disappointing for those participating at the Proximity Corporate & Community Triathlon that the event will now be a duathlon, but again the closure of the Lake is an automatic minimum of 2 weeks when Blue Green Algae levels exceed a certain level.
I would like to pay tribute to our hard-working Executive Director Craig Johns who moved heaven and earth to get approval and sanctioning for the ACT Aquathlon Championships to be held at Lake Ginninderra after Lake Burley Griffin was closed only for the extreme weather events of the weekend to remove that option. Your efforts very much appreciated Craig.
These lake closures due to a Blue Green Algae Bloom that affects the whole lake, are the first since 2012, that have impacted triathlon and we should note that with the investment by the ACT Government in water management improvements over the past few years (particularly the wetlands of North Canberra that were swamped by the water on Sunday) that there has been an improvement on the quality of Lake Burley Griffin.
Canberra is not the only location to suffer from adverse weather with the Australian sprint triathlons at the Gold Coast over the weekend changed to a duathlon owing to heavy rain. St Kilda Beach, Lake Taupo in New Zealand, and the Brisbane Corporate Triathlon have also been affected by water quality. The Rottnest swim on Saturday was disrupted by a shark – thankfully something Canberra is immune from.
With the ACT season concluding with the Proximity Corporate & Community Triathlon and Sri Chinmoy Multisport Classic events this weekend, the 2017-18 has been a highly successful season with record numbers at local events, continuing membership growth and a strong inflow of new and talented participants to the sport via the club novice program. The weather for each of our local events has been exceptionally good, if not a bit hot at times. Many local athletes have performed brilliantly at the interstate and national level, with Penny Slater (Canberra Bilbys) the most recent claiming double National Elite Titles at the Australian Cross and Aquathlon Championships on the weekend. We congratulate Triathlon ACT member Emily Tapp and former member Nic Beveridge on their official selection for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Congratulations also goes to Emily’s coach Megan Hall (TRI 3 Coaching) and both Emily and Nic’s previous coach, Corey Bacon (Performance Triathlon Coaching) on their wonderful guidance and expertise to get the athletes to the big stage.
Planning is already underway for season 2018/19 and a Triathlon ACT Club Presidents meeting was held last week to discuss the past and future seasons. Details on dates and events will be provided soon and we hope to again provide an attractive and diverse range of events for our local members.
Steve Hough and myself attended the Triathlon Australia/State and Territory Triathlon Associations Presidents meeting on Saturday, with the major items discussed being the 2018/19 budget and the Future Operating Model across the sport of triathlon in Australia. More details on the discussions will be provided in the next few weeks and the meeting kicks of what will be an extensive process of consultation and communications over the next four months (as the whole of sport budget is completed).
The events run by Triathlon ACT, this season, have received very good feedback from participants. Triathlon ACT will send members out a survey to receive views on the past season during the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I would welcome any comments / feedback on triathlon in the ACT.
Triathlon ACT President