Race Report: Swansea Triathlon 2023

After joining the club in December, I completed my first triathlon in March and signed up for the highly anticipated Swansea Sprint triathlon, which was set to be race of the season - and didn't disappoint.

Race day started at 4am with some porridge, after which Keith and I set off for Swansea, passing other TTC club members en route. After a bit of confusion about my DOB on arriving, I picked up my race pack, got changed and headed to transition to rack our bikes. First lesson learned: there's a race number sticker for the helmet hidden in the race pack envelope - bring it to transition! A trip back to the van to pick it up (thanks for waiting Keith) meant transition was getting a bit full but we found a space.

We headed over to the swim start and met everyone else from Torfaen Triathlon Club, and what a turn out - over 20 of us!! We got in the water quite late, so after doggy paddling to the centre of the pack, suddenly the start horn went off. And chaos ensued. It was my first open water mass start and it felt like there were bodies and limbs everywhere! Second lesson learnt: try and get near the front and sprint off the start next time (swimming is my strongest of the three sports having been a swimmer growing up). After the second buoy and on the last straight, I finally found some space and settled into the swim. Thankfully I didn't notice the jellyfish as I was too preoccupied with everyone around and trying to swim in a straight line!

I exited the swim just after Iuaen and ran the few hundred metres to transition, struggling to undo my wetsuit. I finally undid it and managed a quicker transition than in my first triathlon. No sitting down in this one! And off I went on my nice and speedy gravel bike. 

The bike was 3 laps out and back along closed roads, which was great but a bit disconcerting going through red lights. I felt super quick on the way out, but was swiftly reminded of how fast others are on the bike as I got steadily overtaken throughout the ride. Turned round and headed back to complete the first lap and genuinely thought I was going slightly uphill, despite knowing the route was flat! Thank you headwind. That's why it felt so fast on the way out! Third lesson learnt: get into a more aero position, particularly with a strong headwind. With this revelation the second and third laps were slightly faster. I also enjoyed a few jelly babies during the ride, which probably gave me more of a psychological boost than physical, and trying to spot other TTC riders on the course. 

After 3 laps and some great spectator support I entered T2, found my spot and switched shoes. The out and back run was along the seafront which was lovely, particularly as it was also a beautiful sunny day. The first km felt slow and like it went on forever, although I had less of a 'jelly legs' feeling than in my first triathlon. I soon got into it though and could start picking off a few of the people that had overtaken me on the bike. Fourth lesson learnt: I have a competitive streak (I've never really been competitive in sports). And so started counting the women that were ahead of me so see roughly where I was, and tried not to let any overtake me. After some high fives to passing TTC triathletes, avoiding sandy patches and awkwardly running down some funny shaped steps I entered the final few hundred metres towards the finish. The support, music and atmosphere were great and spurred me on for a sprint finish. A medal, water and sweets/chocolates were warmly welcomed at the finish line! 

A huge thank you to everyone at the club, and especially Keith for giving me a lift and showing me the ropes, which essentially took away any pre race nerves. It was an amazing day, in a beautiful place and with lovely people. Definitely lived up to the hype. And to top it off, I surprised myself by coming 3rd in my Category (out of 80) and 10th women overall (out of 165)! Not bad.