Ryan Fisher and Gillian Backhouse win Elwood OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup and Australian Sprint titles

Ryan Fisher and Gillian Backhouse overcame atrocious weather conditions to score major break through victories in today’s OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup, which incorporated the Australian Sprint Championships at a wind swept Elwood beach in Melbourne.

While in the ITU World Paratriathlon event, four-time ITU World Champion Bill Chaffey led a hardy group of Paratriathletes who produced amazing performances in conditions many had never experienced before.

London Olympian Emma Jackson fell victim to not one but two punctures on the 10kkm bike leg but still managed a top ten finish.

Rain and wind, both unseen in Melbourne this summer, caused havoc, whipping up a one metre choppy surf which made the 750m swim a real challenge for even the best swimmers in the round three event of the Gatorade Series.

Ryan Fisher takes a well earned victory
Ryan Fisher takes a well earned victory

In the Elite men’s race it was 23-year-old Fisher, born and bred around the beaches of South East Queensland and an experienced surf swimmer, but now calling Melbourne home, wake up this morning rubbing his hands, knowing he would relish the wind chop.

Emerging NSW Central Coast Under 23 athlete Matt Baker led the field out the water closely followed by the experienced Queenslander Dan Wilson and Fisher, who were out of the swim and on their way to the bike transition, while the rest of the field trailed 30 seconds behind.

It was just the break the trio worked for and riding together on the bike over the blowy beachside course saw them steal a march on the race, opening up a break of almost a minute and a half.

In the end it was Fisher, who has recently moved to Melbourne to join the Danielle Stefano squad at the VIS, who outsprinted Wilson through a windy section of chicanes leading into the finish to grab the win with Wilson taking silver with young Baker a very encouraging third in his step up in class.

Fisher admitted he “was a lost soul” late last year without a coach but decided on a move to Stefano, who he had trained under at Falls Creek the season before.

“My career was at a crossroads without a coach but I knew Danielle’s coaching would suit me after being at Falls Creek and also with the strong group of boys like Peter Kerr, Marcel Walkington and Joel Tobin-White.

“It has been a great move for me and I’m loving the new environment and the group.”

Jess Featonby had a ‘what if’ race after getting a 15sec penalty for losing a shoe when avoiding a crash coming in to T2. Harsh one but those are the rules to the letter. He slipped from 4th to 7th as a result.

Backhouse admitted her victory over a classy international field, was far and away the biggest of her career and comes after a move to QAS Head Coach Steve Moss and a group that includes London Olympian Jackson.

“I started with Steve when I returned from a stint with his team in Aix Les Bains in France last year and it has been a different training environment, with the increased work load and race pace work, especially in the run,” said Backhouse.

“But it has certainly paid off and I am really enjoying the training and to get a result like this certainly makes it all worth while.”

And after surprising herself in the choppy swimming conditions, Backhouse rode a controlled race on her preferred bike leg alongside Jackson (before the two punctures blew her race plan out the window), former surf Ironwoman Kelly Ann Perkins and Maddy Allen, who both led the field out of the water.

But it was in the run, traditionally Backhouse’s weakest leg, where she won the race, running away from the field which saw 2011 World Sprint Champion and two-time Chilean Olympian Barbara Riveros Diaz and ITU World Under 23 World Championship silver medalist Ellen Pennock from Canada storm home for silver and bronze with Perkins a close up fourth.

An experienced surf swimmer, Perkins, who finished with the silver medal in the Australian Sprint Championship, also admitted she was “up” for the swim.

“I knew when the wind came up then the swim would certainly suit me and it did but this being only my third triathlon, to finish fourth overall and second in the Australian Championship is certainly very encouraging – I’m pretty happy,” said Perkins.

Jackson, despite those untimely punctures, still managed a top ten finish, crossing the line in ninth place but it would have been good to see her in full flight over the five kilometre run course after her Queensland 5000m win last weekend.

The ITU World Paratriathlon event, with Elite Paratriathletes racing for all important points to qualify for this year’s ITU World Championships in Edmonton, produced some sterling performances.

The process is now in place and the selection period for their ride into Rio and the 2016 Paralympic Games is now very much in train.

Bill Chaffey books his ticket to Edmonton.
Bill Chaffey books his ticket to Edmonton.

Chaffey reveled in the swim and admitted he enjoyed it but the event was certainly challenging for not only the athletes but for the handlers and guides assisting them out of the surf swim and in soft sand.

“It was the toughest conditions I think I’ve ever raced in….before it started I thought it was colder than New Zealand (in 2012) and colder than London (2013),” said Chaffey.

“The swim was pretty rough… and it sorted a few people out. I enjoyed it though, the bouncing around out there in the water was good fun,” said Chaffey, who continued his dominance of the Elite Paratriathlete Tri 1 category.

Other Elite winners included Glen Jarvis (Tri 2), Tony Scoleri (Tri 4), Justin Godfrey (Tri 5), Jonathan Goerlach (Tri 6), Debbie Wendt (Tri 3); Claire McLean ((Tri 4), Casey Hyde (Tri 6) while Paralympic gold medalist on the track Richard Coleman won the open Tri 1 division in an impressive Paratriathlon debut.


OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run)

Elite Men

1. R Fisher (AUS) 56:49.5

2. D Wilson (AUS) 56:57.1

3. M Baker (AUS) 57:29.1

4. E Diemunsch (FRA) 57:47.2

5. G Faldum (HUN) 57:49.4

6. R Darmon (AUS) 57:52.4

7. J Featonby (AUS) 57:54.3

8. K Nener (AUS) 58:02.3

9. J Huggett (AUS) 58:18.3

10. P Kerr (AUS) 58.28.1

Elite Women

1. G Backhouse (AUS) 1:04.26.2

2. B Riveros Diaz (CHI) 1:05.08.2

3. E Pennock (CAN) 1:05.29.0

4. K-A Perkins (AUS) 1:05.30.5

5. Ai Veda (JPN) 1:06.28.4

6. Kato Yurse (JPN) 1:06.37.1

7. Annelise Jefferies (AUS) 1:07.00.3

8. Maddison Allen (AUS) 1:07.42.1

9. Emma Jackson (AUS) 1:07.56.1

10. Penny Hosken (AUS) 1:09.49.0

Australian Sprint Championships (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run)

Elite Men

1. R Fisher (AUS) 56:49.5

2. D Wilson (AUS) 56:57.1

3. M Baker (AUS) 57:29.1

Elite Women

1. G Backhouse (AUS) 1:04.26.2

2. K-A Perkins (AUS) 1:05.30.5

3. Annelise Jefferies (AUS) 1:07.00.3

ITU World Paratriathlon Event

Elite Male

Tri 1

B Chaffey 1:07.01.3

S Crowley 1:26.47.2

M Brumby 1:32.30.0

Tri 2

G Jarvis 1:35.19.1

S Bramham 1:42.34.2

Tri 4

T Scoleri 1:23.54.1

Tri 5

J Godfrey 1:15.59.4

J Swift 1:18.08.5

R Mason 1:21.41.3

Tri 6

J Goerlach 1:15.29.4

J McClure 1:16.28.3

R Daniel 1:17.20.1

Elite Female

Tri 3

D Wendt 1:43.59.0

Tri 4

C McLean 1:23.54.1

S Pilbeam 1:31.45.2

Tri 6

C Hyde 1:42.40.0

Open Male

Tri 1

R Coleman 1:26.56.5

R Paterson 1:31.37.3

A Welsh 1:42.55.4



Karl Hayes

Head of Rest and Recovery

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.