Monday, 23 February 2009

Triathlon swim deaths have put me in a spin

Remind me not to read those triathlon magazines again.

I came across an alarming article the other day, talking about a spate of triathlon deaths.

About three happened in America in the space of a couple of weeks last year and it pointed out 23 finely-tuned athletes had died over the years.

But more worrying, 18 of those had all died during the first section - the swim.

I am still to swim in open water which will be the task in the docks outside the ExCel Arena come August 2, covering 1.5k.

And swimming is my weakest of the three abilities. Oh dear, I better up the lengths in the pool - quickly.

So I read further down, surely there was a few bits of advice to help reassure this delicate first-time triathlete.

American Russ Evenhuis was on hand for some words of wisdom.

“Nothing can prepare a newbie for the start,” he stated.


“It can be like jumping into a washing machine. You will get swum over, kicked, hit and banged into.”

New underwear please.

Then triathlete and coach Neil Cook chipped in about no matter how much you do in the pool, the swim will still daunt you.

“There is no wall 25 yards away, you can’t see the bottom,” he explained. “Oh, and you are wearing this wetsuit that’s tighter than a girdle.”

Raise your heart rate and blood pressure under those conditions, he said, and "any weakness you have will become apparent.”

Heartbeat rising under those conditions?

It’s beating like a drum just thinking about it.

What can I take from that as I look to prepare in the best possible way.

Scrap the swimming pool and jump in the washing machine for a hour every night?

Maybe even head to the local laundrette. Well, there is more room in those industrial-sized beauties.

I am in a spin already. Maybe I’ll invest in a pair of armbands.

Surely that is better than chancing meeting my maker in the cold and murky waters of the Royal Victoria Dock.

To see full story behind Stevie taking up the Triathlon challenge, click here

To sponsor Stevie visit

American-based sports giant Under Armour have backed Stevie in his quest to complete the London Triathlon and raise cash for When You Wish Upon A Star by agreeing to become his official sponsor.They have provided him with a whole range of their latest hi-tech training gear to help in all weathers, and a new tri-suit for the race itself. For more information visit

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