Wagga Wagga Closes Out The Junior Pathway Season.
NSW athletes showcased their racing prowess from a busy triathlon season at the 2022/23 Your Local Club Academy Games, which took place over the last weekend of the school holidays. The Academy Games is an annual gathering of the state’s Regional Academies of Sport (RASi) to celebrate the skill and development of their talented athletes, and this year hosted over 60 Academy competitors from 6 regional academies, plus the Rest of State Talent Academy (ROSTA).
The two-day triathlon program was hosted at the Wagga Wagga Bolton Park Precinct by the Southern Sports Academy (SSA), with the help of the Wagga Wagga Triathlon Club. The Wagga Wagga Triathlon Club worked tirelessly to provide a racing opportunity using the local swimming pool and closed roads as the race was initially supposed to be hosted at Lake Albert like the previous year, however the health of the Lake was a concern this year, which forced a moved to the pool.
Day 1 featured the individual draft legal heats and finals over a 200m swim/5.5km bike/1.5km run format. The heats were mixed gender and ages (youth and junior) to allow the best opportunity of drafting with athletes of a similar pace. There were four heats, with the fastest times allocated to the A final. Every athlete was afforded the opportunity to race in the final as there were four finals.
The A final was hotly contested, with Hunter Academy of Sport athlete Rohan Barnes and ROSTA athlete Jack Caldwell neck and neck for most of the race. Caldwell exited the water ahead of Barnes, and both boys had a lightning fast transition time of 11 seconds, before heading on to the straight, flat bike course with a hot dog turn at each end. Barnes bridged up to Caldwell after a lap and the boys worked together to stay away from the chase pack that were closing in on them. Barnes’ season has seen him with transition times that have often been the fastest in the field, which enabled him to exit transition on to the run ahead of Caldwell. The three (3) lap run circuit, which came back past transition each lap, provided a perfect view of where the two boys were in relation to each other – and that was neck and neck for the three laps until the final 200 metres. Jack Caldwell put in a surge to pull away and take line honours ahead of Rohan Barnes, who finished second (6 seconds behind) and youth athlete Kyle Mason capped off his brilliant season in third place, with the fastest bike split and equal fastest run split.
CLICK HERE to see the top results of the male division (A Final).
The B Final saw most of the positions decided for the female podium. Ella Hardie led the female contingent out of the water and also a fast transition saw Ella hold the lead for a short while on the bike. Skye Bell, Madeline Platt and youth athlete Petra Fransen all worked hard on the bike, taking the technical turns as fast as possible so as to not lose any speed or put in unnecessary surges. Bell and Fransen were first off the bike followed very closely by Hardie and Platt. Platt pulled off the fastest run split for the girls, which was not quite enough to reel in Bell who crossed the line in first position.
CLICK HERE to see the full results of the B Final (incl. top results in female division.
As part of the Academy Games, Triathlon Australia presented a Roadshow for athletes, parents and coaches on the Saturday night. The Roadshow was an education and discussion piece around the High Performance Pathway and all of the steps along the way, including how each of the steps links together and the benefits to athletes.
After a well deserved rest and recovery at respective RASi and ROSTA camps, Sunday featured the Regional Academies of Sport Mixed Relay Championships. The relays were fielded first from Academies, with Juniors and Youth in the same relay. The relay was a three (3) person format (in the order of male, female, male) which allowed all athletes that were racing to be in eligible teams. The Mixed Relay Team event followed the same course and distance as the individual events. Academy pride and bragging rights were up for grabs and there were some impressive efforts on race day.
CLICK HERE to see the full results of the mixed relay championships.
Triathlon NSW/ACT Coach Education and Pathway Lead, Robyn Low-Hart emphasised the importance of the games for our developing athletes and the benefits they provide.
"Academy Games is a fantastic way to finish the RASi and ROSTA competition season," she said.
“The event brought all the athletes together, with many staying in camp environments. These are the memories that stick.
"I was pleased with the quality of the racing and grit displayed by athletes throughout the season. NSW/ACT athletes have had a lot of short course race opportunities this year, and I could see the obvious development in race skills and growth in athlete management across the season, which is most encouraging.
“There is a young cohort of athletes coming through the RASi and ROSTA programs. It will be exciting to watch as these athletes develop over the years.
Triathlon NSW would like to say a big thank you to the RASi's and in particular Southern Sports Academy and their staff, as well as the Wagga Wagga Triathlon Club volunteers for a great event. We would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Triathlon Convenors, Cathy Breese and Geoff Breese for delivering a smooth and successful event.
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