Two members of the Royal Australian Navy represented Australia at the ITU World Triathlon Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in September, highlighting their endurance and persistence.
Petty Officer Cryptologic Linguist Shane Kelly, of Navy Information Warfare Branch, competed in the Draft-Legal Sprint race (750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike, 5 kilometre run) finishing in a time of 1:24:58 while Able Seaman Aviation Technician Aircraft Brad Lewis, from the Navy Unmanned Aircraft System Unit, completed the Standard Distance (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run) in a time of 2:28:19.
Both athletes were selected to represent Australia in recognition of their qualifying results throughout the Australian qualifying season in the 35-39 age group.
Whilst most Australian triathletes were taking a well-earned break throughout winter, both trained hard during the off-season to be fit and ready to compete against the world’s best in Rotterdam.
After a week of harsh weather conditions and tough preparation, with cold, rain and strong winds, the sun was shining on race day for both competitors. The bike course took in all the sights, including five bridges, ramps, narrow bike paths and cobblestones, which presented a very technical and challenging course, unlike those the athletes were used to in Australia.
Petty Officer Kelly was competing in his first World Championships after a very successful year representing the Australian Defence Force Triathlon Club.
“It was an incredible experience to don the green and gold and both represent my country and also compete against the best from all the other countries,” he said.
“The draft-legal format provided a great opportunity to not only compete against other countries; however, to also work together with them on the bike leg as one team to reach the end.
“My highlight of the day was one of the Mexican athletes thanking me after the race for pulling him through on the bike leg.”
Able Seaman Lewis also competing in his first World Championships has also had a very impressive year.
“The Australian Defence Force Triathlon Club supported events provided amazing race opportunities for me to qualify for the World Championships,” he said.
“To be selected to represent your country and wear the iconic ‘Green and Gold’ is something you strive to do from an early age in this country.
“The race venue was certainly a unique experience. The entire course, swim/bike/run was in and around the Rotterdam CBD and provided a visual experience, unlike anything I have seen racing in Australia.
“My highlight of the day was the bike course. It was tough, technical and really tested my bike handling skills.”
There is no rest for either athlete with the 2017-18 triathlon season underway back in Australia. Petty Officer Kelly has his sights set on qualifying for the 2018 World Championships for sprint distance to be held on home soil in the Gold Coast in September 2018.
Able Seaman Lewis is moving up to long course racing and honing his skills through Australian Defence Force Triathlon Club supported events through 2018, with eyes on qualifying for the 2019 World Long Course Triathlon Championships in Pontevedra, Spain.