Navy first service home at Husky Triathlon

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Todd Fitzgerald (author), ABIS Sarah Ebsworth (photographer)

Location(s): Huskisson, NSW

Topic(s): Triathlon

The Australian Defence Force Triathlon team during the Huskisson Triathlon Festival. (photo: ABIS Sarah Ebsworth)
The Australian Defence Force Triathlon team during the Huskisson Triathlon Festival.

Twenty Australian Defence Force members competed at the Huskisson Triathlon recently with the Royal Australian Navy contingent hobbling away with bragging rights.

Lieutenant Rowan Walker was the first Defence member across the line in the long course, finishing the 2 kilometre swim, 83 kilometre cycle and 20 kilometre run in 4 hours and 9 minutes.

He finished fifteenth out of 750 competitors, first in the 45 to 49-year-old division, and 20 minutes ahead of his nearest Defence rival, Major Haydn Jervis of the Australian Army.

Lieutenant Walker raced with injured ribs, suffered the week before the race, and had only resumed training in December last year.

He said the race went smoothly despite the hurdles.

“I hurt my ribs playing sport at work, and was training with considerable discomfort. I was lucky to make the start line. Every stroke in the swim hurt but it was manageable,” Lieutenant Walker said.

“But there was no hiding how slow I swam. I also lacked a bit of time riding the time trial bike and completing the specific sessions needed. I did, however, control my pace on the bike and didn't exhaust myself, so I felt I got to the run leg still in reasonable shape.”

Lieutenant Walker is the Canberra Marathon defending champion and plans to compete in that event in April.

Leading Seaman Medic Mikaela Millin was Navy’s best female competitor, finishing the long course in 6 hours 36 minutes.

It was a good result for the Australian Defence Force Medics’ Course instructor, who had not competed in a triathlon since 2013.

“I had a long break due to a sea posting, multiple new jobs and completing a paramedic degree,” she said.

“But the pain was worth it. It's a great accomplishment and I feel proud to have finished.”

There are four races in the Huskisson Triathlon: the Ocean Swim, Sprint, Entice and the Long Course.

Sub Lieutenant Chris Harrop finished the Men’s Sprint - a 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre ride and 5 kilometre run - in 1 hour 23 minutes.

The conditions deteriorated considerably for the Women’s Sprint but Commander Jo Haynes competed strongly and finished in 1 hour and 38 minutes.

Other Navy members to compete in the extended format included Lieutenant Commander Nigel Rowan (4 hours 57 minutes), Warrant Officer Dan Freeman (5 hours 28 minutes), and Leading Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics James Knox (7 hours 47 minutes).

Lieutenant Dean Helm and Petty Officer Naval Police Coxswain Nathan Dwyer competed in the Men’s Sprint race.

All Navy members are part of the Australian Defence Force Triathlon Club.

Sport plays a big part in Navy life, promoting teamwork and fitness.