GTC member Amy Ritchie (age group 20 to 24) triumphed in the 2019 Pontevedra ITU Aquathlon Age Group World Championships in Spain this month. Another club member Arlene Lewis (45 to 49) took silver.
Amy finished the 1km open water swim and 5km run in 37:14. She won gold more than than a minute and a half ahead of the second placed female.
Arlene was just 11 seconds behind the gold medal winner in her age category and finished in 39:18 to take silver.
The GB age group finished with a total of 25 medals, including 10 golds, in Pontevedra.
Both Amy and Arlene also competed in the 2018 Glasgow ETU Triathlon European Championships last year. Amy was 12th in her age cat while Arlene was 24th.
Last year, Arlene also qualified for the 2018 Ibiza ETU Aquathlon European Championships coming 5th. In 2017, she was 22nd in the Düsseldorf ETU Sprint Triathlon European Champs.
Amy’s bid for qualification
Amy qualified to race at the world champs in February. She competed in Porto in Portugal as part of a holiday with her parents. Amy said: “I enticed my parents with the idea of good food, wine and weather, rather than the racing. We ended having a week’s holiday and I qualified for the world champs, too.”
Racing in the world champs
The world champs race took place on May 3. Arriving in Spain on May 1 gave Amy enough time to recce the swim course, which was a 1km loop swimming against the current, turning around two buoys at the far end and swimming back down to transition with the current.
Amy said: “The water temperature was around 14C, which I felt was warm after the 6C of Neptune Steps in Glasgow in March. I don’t think the Australian competitors agreed with me though!”
Amy had been suffering with a cold the week before the event and had been unable to run for much of March so she said she wasn’t expecting to do too well.
The race start
Amy’s age category started the race with five other female age groups. She said: “This meant it was pretty choppy in the water with lots of accidental punching and kicking.
“My main aim in the swim was to find space, which I did by about the turn point, and then power it back to transition.”
She described the run course as “fairly crowded”. She said: “This meant I had very little idea where I was placed, but I felt strong and I was pleasantly surprised with my run time.”
Amy wins gold
Amy had no idea that she had won her age group until her boyfriend, who was checking the results at home, texted. He wrote: “DID YOU JUST WIN?! OH MY GOD, YOU’VE WON!”
Amy said: “Overall, it was a great experience of racing abroad, topped off with a World AG gold medal. It also happened on what would have been my gran’s 100th birthday, which made it even more special.
“All of the other athletes were incredibly friendly and supportive, and it was great to have my parents there to watch me win.
“This time last year having only done two triathlons, I definitely didn’t think I could even qualify for Age Group World and European events, so I can’t thank the GTC coaches and training pals enough for helping me to believe in myself. I couldn’t have done it without you all.”
Also read: Arlene wins silver at aquathlon world champs.