Chichester’s triathlon and aquathon prove pre-Olympics record breakers

Aquathon competitors Olivia Meechan and Max Schutte, both aged eight   Photo by Louise Adams
Aquathon competitors Olivia Meechan and Max Schutte, both aged eight Photo by Louise Adams

Record numbers got into the 2012 Olympic spirit by turning out for the Chichester Triathlon and Junior Aquathon over the weekend.

Both events survived the weather – unlike much of the weekend’s sporting programme – and some exceptional performances were seen both from young would-be Olympians of the future in the aquathon and by a variety of seasoned triathletes and novices in Sunday’s races.

“We’re so pleased that so many people took part in this year’s event and that lots of people came along to cheer them despite the horrid weather we had on Saturday,” says Cllr Eileen Lintill, cabinet member for leisure, wellbeing, and community services at Chichester District Council.

“This year we had a record number of people taking part – some who may have been inspired by the Olympics starting in less than two weeks. Well done to everyone who took part.

“I’d also like to say a big thank-you to all the volunteers who helped us with this event as it just wouldn’t be possible without them.”

On Saturday more than 130 young people battled the elements to take part in the Junior Aquathon.

This comprised a swimming race at Westgate Leisure, Chichester, followed by a race around Chichester College’s campus.

The distances set for junior competitors was dependent upon their age.

On Sunday more than 500 competitors took part in the Chichester Triathlon and Try-a-Tri events.

These, like the aquathon the day before, were again sponsored by Natures Way Foods.

The main triathlon consisted of a 600m pool swim at Westgate Leisure, a 42km (26-mile) cycle ride and a 10km (six-mile) run.

The Try-a-Tri sprint triathlon featured a 400m pool swim, 30k bike ride and a 5k run.

The female course record was smashed by Chichester Westgate Triathlon Club member Mary Campbell, while the Chichester Westgate Triathlon Club championshiop trophy winner was Gareth Dridge, who finished tenth overall.

For the district council, the aquathon and triathlon were part of a ‘big weekend’ which led into the Olympic torch relay arriving in town on Monday.

A mini-Olympics was held at Oaklands Park for hundreds of schoolchildren from the district as they waited to greet the torch.