Violins, Triathlons and Motherhood – Leading Age Grouper Caroline Sweeney on the big Juggle

The Big Juggle!

The Australian 2009/2010 was a big one for Caroline – just enough time to have recovered from the birth of her eldest daughter (2008) and to fit in one last season before the birth of her second daughter (now almost 6months old).

To make the most of her different worlds (work, triathlon, family time and performing as a violinist), juggling was truly at play. Triathlon had its fair share with Caroline winning a double Australian Championship – being crowned the overall age group Australian Champion for long course and her age group Australian Champion for olympic distance.

The season opened with the sprint race at Forster (15.11.09) where she finished 3rd female overall (and 3rd in 30-34 category).

Next was the club distance race at Callala Bay in early December 2009. “It wasn’t a great race – with a wrong turn in the swim and running back into the water to re-swim part of the course, and getting stuck on the bike course behind slow cars for a while.” Caroline still managed to finish as 2nd female overall (faster than any pros).

By the time of the Canberra Capital Triathlon (24.1.10) she was feeling more ready to race, although pre-race chaos on the day fixed that (rushing around after her almost 2 year old and running very late to start the race). This race was the Australian championships “After 3 minutes in the penalty box I thought my race was gone. I ended up finishing with the 3rd fastest run of the day (fastest in her age group) for a total time of 2.11.27 and 6th fastest female overall (1st in her age group).

When it was suggested that she have a go at a long course race Caroline decided on the Australian Long Course Championships in Huskisson (February 2010). “The length seemed ridiculous to me but I signed up anyway (and even managed to squeeze in one longer run of almost the 20km run distance). I had a crack, a bundle of nerves knowing I was short on distance training and not quite sure what to do with all those energy gels and drink (dehydrating on the run in very hot conditions with the age group wave being very late to start and finishing after midday).” The 4:17 time (with an 83min run) made her the fastest non-pro female on the day (6th fastest female and 1st in 30-34 age group, another Australian championship).

Caroline also race the Trishave Sydney Sprint series at Kurnell, posting a PB of 1.03.41 in the February race. In January she finished as the fastest non-pro racer and was first in 30-34 and November and February was 2nd in 30-34 and 5th and 4th overall female respectively.

“The State Championships race in Newcastle (21.03.10) was a tough course, with huge hills on the bike – seemed tough after a very average swim and negotiation of fogged up sunglasses and various other T1 issues. I finished 2nd in 30-34 (by 10 seconds) and 4th female overall”

Deciding to sneak in one more race (back to back with Newcastle) – Caroline raced open category in Mooloolaba (28.3.10). “I was tired and sick (but as ever, excited) and headed to QLD. The lack of swimming experience showed through. I left behind by the rest of the opens early on and then was caught in a rip and needed lots of direction help from lifeguards. Thinking it was all over, I continued on anyway to have a bit of a ride on the bike and a potter using the old tired legs. A bad start improved with a 4th place finish in the open category, and my first ever prize money to take home.”

A year and a half later, Caroline is sitting around with a 6 month old and 3 year old, life full in a different way again, enjoying it all of course, but looking forward to getting back out there!

Caroline’s Results

2010 State
Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival 2010 QLD Mar-28 2:13:19
Sparke Helmore Triathlons 2010 NSW Mar-21 2:11:17
Trishave Sydney Sprint Series – Race 3 NSW Feb-28 1:03:41
Huskisson Australian Long Course Triathlon NSW Feb-22 4:17:40
2010 Canberra Capital National Triathlon ACT Jan-24 2:11:27
Trishave Sydney Sprint Series – Race 2 NSW Jan-17 1:05:32
Callala Beach Triathlon 2009 NSW 12-Jun 1:41:13
Trishave Sydney Sprint Series – Race 1 NSW Nov-22 1:05:21
Forster Sprint 2009 NSW Nov-14 1:09:09