Navy triathletes tackle Cairns

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Max Bree (author)

Location(s): Cairns

Topic(s): HMAS Cairns, Triathlon

Chief Petty Officer Naval Police Coxswain Michelle Cannon competes in the cycling leg of her first triathlon. (photo: Unknown)
Chief Petty Officer Naval Police Coxswain Michelle Cannon competes in the cycling leg of her first triathlon.

Navy triathletes mixed it with about 2,400 other competitors at this year’s Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns in June.
Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Joel Macallister beat all other Navy competitors, coming 52nd overall and finishing third in the 25 to 29-year old division in just over 9 hours and 28 minutes.
Lieutenant Commander Nigel Rowan was the best performer in the shorter 70.3-mile event, finishing in just over 5 hours and 4 minutes.
“The course was beautiful,” he said
“There’s a nice open-water swim and it’s a very scenic ride north of Cairns that finishes through the cane fields and along the esplanade.”
Lieutenant Commander Rowan performed well despite his training regime being disrupted while he attended Staff College in Canberra.
“I hadn’t been able to train as much as I’d like,” he said.
“I was confident I would finish but I didn’t know how my time would be.
“I’m closing in on my goal of finishing in less than five hours.”
Competing in the 40 to 44-year-old age group, Lieutenant Commander Rowan said he concentrated on his own performance rather than chasing a podium finish.
“As an-age group athlete I’m not in the mix of getting an overall place,” he said.
“It’s about pushing myself and achieving my own goals.
“Triathlon gets me off the couch, and hopefully I can set an example that you can be active as you get older.
“It’s harder to play explosive and contact sports as you get older, but I find triathlon easier on me physically than playing cricket for a few days at a time.”
Racing for the first time in the event was Executive Officer HMAS Cairns Lieutenant Commander Matt Richardson, who completed the main event in 10 hours and 57 minutes.
“The ocean swim was a bit choppy and the ride leg had a bit of wind, but a home-ground advantage helped as I was able to train in similar conditions to race day,” he said.
“I really like the preparation and the thought you have to put in.
“Unlike most team sports, if you go badly on the day you can’t blame somebody else for a poor result; you have to balance your training and your nutrition, and closely monitor your level of effort on the day to succeed.”
Having her first crack at triathlon was Chief Petty Officer Naval Police Coxswain Michelle Cannon who completed the shorter 70.3-mile half ironman event in 6 hoursand 52 minutes after being encouraged by her Executive Officer at Cairns to get involved.
“He said I should direct some of my enthusiasm and energy into a triathlon,” Chief Petty Officer Cannon said.
“I had so much fuel left in the tank when I finished.
“My only disappointment is I didn’t do it 20 years ago.”
Chief Petty Officer Cannon began training for the event after starting at her first shore posting about a year ago.
Part of her training was learning how to swim properly and she’s confident her times will improve.