Aaron Royle and Emma Jeffcoat reigned supreme at the Mixed Relay Invitational this afternoon, taking out the title in blistering form at the Gold Coast Performance Centre.
Competing as team ‘Royle Tea’, Royle and Jeffcoat proved they had the legs to go the distance, with Jeffcoat producing an excellent run leg to seal the title for the New South Wales duo.
Speaking on her race today, Jeffcoat said that she backed herself to get the job done.
“I’m really pleased with my performances today across the two races,” Jeffcoat said.
“I know I’m in good form and happy that I’ve been able to demonstrate that today, off the back of Devonport.”
“It was awesome to be back racing against a fierce and strong line up of Aussie girls, it’s exciting for us all to push one another.”
Mimicking the scheduling at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, athletes were given just four days to recover between Sunday’s Australian Standard Distance Championships and today’s relay event, something which Royle said was quite a challenge this time around.
“I was actually pretty sore this whole week,” Royle said.
“This was the first [race] that I’ve done in quite a while, like ITU style racing. So I was actually really sore in the quads, DOMS in the calves, so I was a little bit worried but luckily the legs sort of just came good today.”
The 2021 Mixed Relay Invitational saw athletes compete in teams of two over the 300m swim, 6.8km bike and 1.9km run in a Heats and Finals format.
Significant overnight rain saw technical skills tested in trying conditions throughout the morning’s heats as athletes worked to secure positions into the A Final. Jeffcoat and Matt Hauser put on a clinic for their competitors, producing the fastest times of the day despite the conditions.
In a fast and ferocious A Final, the Elite Men made it clear that it wasn’t going to be an easy race for anyone. With nearly all of the athletes completing the swim and the bike in one big pack, the run became critical.
Hauser led the way out of T2, quickly finding some breathing space out the front. Pushing the pace through the entire run leg was a train of athletes, including Ryan Fisher, Aaron Royle, Callum McClusky and Max Stapley, forcing Hauser to find another gear as he handed over the lead to teammate Ashleigh Gentle. Willian, an injury replacement for Kye Wylde, managed to stay in touch as he handed over to teammate Jaz Hedgeland in second position, with Olympians Ryan Fisher and Barbara Riveros (CHI) following closely.
A strong swim from Emma Jeffcoat saw her secure herself a narrow lead out of the water, ahead of Hedgeland and Gentle. Sticking together on the bike, it all came down to the final run.
Jeffcoat pushed Gentle and Hedgeland the entire way, before breaking away from the pair in the final lap to take out the title with Aaron Royle. Ashleigh Gentle and teammate Matt Hauser backed up their wins at Sunday’s Australian Standard Distance Championships with second place overall. Jaz Hedgeland and Luke Willian rounded out the podium with third.
Bridget McCormack and Jack Crome put together a strong race to take the line honours in the B Final.
Chasing down a flying Jess Ashworth late in the race, McCormack put down a blistering run to secure her team the title. Tamsyn Hill and Oscar Dart snuck into second after solid performances from the duo. Harry Ladd and Gabrielle Jackson rounded out the podium in third position.
Australia’s elite and junior athletes will now turn their focus to the Gold Coast Super Sprint on March 27-28.
2021 Mixed Relay Invitational
1st – ‘Royle Tea’, Aaron Royle and Emma Jeffcoat
2nd – ‘The Runaway Baes’, Matt Hauser and Ashleigh Gentle
3rd – ‘The College Dropouts’, Luke Willian and Jaz Hedgeland
1st – ‘Bridget and some other weird kid’, Jack Crome and Bridget McCormack
2nd – ‘Darthill’, Oscar Dart and Tamsyn Hill
3rd – ‘Gazza & Hazza’, Harry Ladd and Gabrielle Jackson
Fastest 1st leg & 2nd leg male – Matt Hauser
Fastest 1st leg & 2nd leg female – Emma Jeffcoat