Clubs across New South Wales are gearing up for the biggest event of the NSW age grouper’s year: the Triathlon New South Wales Compressport Cub Championships.
Although clearly targeted at age groupers this year’s event has also attracted many professionals who are hoping to earn points for their clubs and give back to training partners who have supported them throughout the year.In the women’s field the Balmoral club will be represented by Sophia Amor-Smith (short distance pro triathlete and winner of last year’s event), Christelle Van Niekerk (current world sprint and long course champion in the 30 -34 age group) and Anel Stewart (pro South African triathlete). Perhaps the only athletes capable of worrying this trio are Anna Cleaver of BRATs and Caroline Sweeny representing HERT.
The mens’ field is probably a bit more open, with many athletes waiting to see if the rumours of a Pete Jacobs return to represent Warringah club are true. It is hard to believe he will race given his recent shoulder surgery. Competing for line honours will be Christian Kemp from HERT (Chris recently achieved a third pacing at the Huskisson Long Course championship) and Pete Schockman representing Balmoral (who finished third at the ITU Singapore Asian Premium Cup Triathlon in April). Adam Conquest (BRATs) will be sure to put in a fast time, and Spot Anderson (BRATs), Bruce Thomas (Balmoral), Peter Walker (Warringah), Adam Radford (Balmoral) and John Hill (BRATs) should all place well in their age groups.
The secret to winning this event is to ensure coverage across all age groups and a good supply of volunteers. Warringah will be hoping for a historic 4th win in a row, and the only club who really look likely to stand in their way are the Hills club, who while not boasting any big name athletes in their ranks do have the weight of numbers. The minor placings will probably be fought out between Balmoral, BRATs and HERT.
Among the country clubs it is hard to go past the ever impressive Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, though Central Coast Triathlon & Multisport Club will be looking to repeat their shock win from last year.
Some 50% of NSW clubs will be represented at the event, with 27 clubs having registered athletes. This will be the last year that the event will be held at Port Stephens as the organisers need to find a venue capable of holding more athletes. The 900 slots filled within 10 days leaving many athletes and clubs disappointed. The timing of the event will also be delayed by a couple of weeks in future to accommodate the new time slot allocated to Ironman Port Macquarie.
Nick Munting who is organising the event told trizone that the TriNSW Board has now narrowed the shortlist for next years race venue down to two: Forster and the Central Coast. Ideally the event will feature a single loop out and back bike course allowing the event to expand up to 1,200 competitors.
Of concern to many NSW athletes competing at this year’s club championships will be the fact that online entry for the 2011 Port Macquarie Ironman opens just after the start of the race. With just 1,000 slots available Port Macquarie is expected to fill up fast,and many participants may be taking their lap tops to the race and hoping for good wireless connection.