Hot and humid conditions greeted our pathway athletes on Sunday morning as they converged on the Sydney International Regatta Centre for the sixth and final round of the 2022/23 Billigence Pathway Championship Series, hosted by Panthers Triathlon Club.
Nearly 100 Youth, Junior and U23 athletes took part, with the final opportunity to earn series points and some prize money (courtesy of Panthers) providing an added incentive.
RACE 1- JUNIOR/U23 GIRLS
The action kicked off with the Junior/U23 girls race over the sprint distance format, with a 750m straight line swim, a 4-lap 20km bike course and a 2-lap 5km run. While the longer 750m swim separating the field a little more than the super sprint races earlier in the season, two packs of 3 quickly formed on the bike, but it was the efforts of the chase group, spearheaded by Emma Olson-Keating (Pulse Performance Tri Club), who merged them together, forming a group of 6 heading onto the run. Grace Kells (Northern Suburbs Tri Club) was the only athlete who was able to match the tempo of Olson-Keating on the run, with the pair working together until the final stages, where Emma pulled away for the win. Grace Kells finished 2nd and it was Grace Henry (Balmoral/Brighton Baths), who held herself together for 3rd place.
The conditions and nature of the course adapted Olson-Keating’s approach to the race.
“I knew it was going to be quite warm, so we packed ice for the day. I had some ice on my neck before the race.
“Coming on to the run, I held a consistent pace, cause I knew it’s a longer run and Penrith can get very warm.
“Being able to see the turn [on the run] is hard, because it doesn’t feel like it’s getting any closer. I focus on closer landmarks, like the little sheds along the water.”
RACE 2- JUNIOR/U23 BOYS
Next up was the Junior/U23 Boys event, also conducted over the sprint distance course. In his first event of the season, Billy Zavetsanos (Hills Tri Club) set the early pace, leading out of the water, but it didn’t take long for a group of 3 to join him on the bike. The quartet remained together into the second transition. Mitchell Blackbourn (Hills/Illawarra) stormed on to the run course, establishing an early margin within a few hundred metres. He was able to stay efficient and come across the line for the victory, continuing his very strong season so far, fresh off a bronze medal at the Super Sprint National Titles in Canberra. Logan Campbell (Warringah) had a lot of work to do, but looked effortless on the run, to make up a big time deficit and cross the line in 2nd, with Billy Zavetsanos rewarded for his early efforts, finishing 3rd.
Blackbourn was well aware of the challengers that came from behind and did not show any complacency.
“I knew that I had to get away from Logan Campbell on the ride to be able to take the win out.
“Every u turn I noticed he was getting closer and closer.”
Blackbourn has some big goals for the rest of the season, with the NSW and Australian All Schools his focus, as well as aiming for a spot on the World Junior Championship team.
RACE 3- YOUTH GIRLS
A smaller field headed off in the Super Sprint Youth Girls race, but it certainly was not lacking in quality. The pair of Skye Bell (Illawarra) and Maddie Platt (Maitland) were able to stay away on the bike and it was Platt who wasted no time in making Bell work early on the run, setting a very strong pace, which she held quite well for the entire run to take the win. Bell held her form for 2nd place and Charlotte Hussein (Balmoral/Hills) was gutsy to finish with the bronze medal.
When we spoke to her post-race, Maddie Platt gave us an insight into her approach and some recent changes to her training.
“I just wanted to leave it all out there. Skye was only a little bit ahead [at the start of the run], so I knew if I just upped it a little bit and held it, then we’ll be right.
“I have just started training with Nicky Western from Hunter Academy. My brother and I also train together at the soccer field, which has been beneficial for my run leg.”
RACE 4- YOUTH BOYS
There wasn’t much that could separate the Super Sprint Youth Boys event, with a lead pack of 8 sticking together for the majority of the ride and entering transition as a group, despite some very narrow and testing sections of the bike course. Kyle Mason (Cronulla), alongside Illawarra pair Will Mason and Harry Fraser, put the foot down out of transition and became a lead group of 3 on to the out and back run course, but it was Kyle Mason who was able to sustain this the best and come away with the victory. Will Mason (Illawarra) went home with the silver medal and the bronze to Harry Fraser (Illawarra).
This is what Kyle had to say after the race.
“Coming into the hairpin turns [on the bike], I would push up to the front to make sure I could always be in control.
“The heat hit me a bit in the first part of the run. When I caught up to the two in front (15m ahead), I decided to not stay with them, but to just go, because it was only a 2k run.”
Kyle has a busy schedule coming up with the Australian Surf Life Saving Titles (competing in the 2km Beach Run), National Athletics and All Schools Triathlon!
FULL RESULTS AVAILABLE HERE
Note: Overall series pointscores available below
RACE VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS AVAILABLE ON OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE HERE
Click on “Billigence Race” circular icon under bio
BILLIGENCE PATHWAY CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES- FINAL POINTSCORES
OVERALL SERIES RESULS HERE
FEMALE SERIES RESULS HERE
MALE SERIES RESULS HERE
While the state level draft legal events have wrapped up for the season, there’s still plenty more to come for our Pathway athletes, including the NSW All Schools Championships on 23-24 Feb (details HERE).
There will also be a number of NSW athletes in action at Triathlon Australia National Performance events. See the calendar HERE
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