In early 2022, I took part in a few adult sprint triathlons, where I quickly discovered that swimming and running came more naturally to me than biking. After looking around online I could see that the Aquathlon British Championships was in July 2022. I entered, and after winning my age category, I was later contacted and told that I had qualified for the World and European Aquathlon Championships.
I had qualified for the Aquathlon (1km swim 5km run) in the 16-19 category. After a few delays with the tri-suit, it arrived a few weeks before I set off. We arrived a few days early and had a chance to watch the duathlon in Santa Eularia to soak up the atmosphere of the event. As Mario Mola came past in first, it was no surprise to hear lots of support from the predominantly Spanish supporters. My race was also in Santa Eularia so it was a good chance to scout out the run course which was pretty much flat.
Race day arrived with perfect weather—full sun and a comfortable 24 degrees Celsius. With a short drive into Santa Eularia, we set off around 8 am, well in time for the 11 am race start. Having registered a few days earlier in Ibiza town, I already had my race number and information, streamlining the process of setting up in transition. Unlike triathlon, I only needed my running shoes, as there was no bike leg. This simplified setup definitely made things easier, especially the journey from Norwich to Ibiza. Amidst discussions about wetsuits and non-wetsuit swims, I found myself leaning towards the non-wetsuit option, following the example set by the elite race at 10:15. However, as I observed the majority of Age Group participants putting on their wetsuits, I decided to go with the majority and suited up as well.
This was when excitement gave way to a few nerves, but fortunately, I had the chance to settle some of them with a 5-minute warm-up swim in the sea.
I found myself in the first wave, which consisted of males under 25. Ready to start the race, there was little time to overthink as the gun went very shortly after the first call to the line. The water was a bit choppy on the way to the first buoy, but it smoothed out nicely afterwards.
It was difficult to gauge my position amidst the initial surge, instead, I focused on navigating the course. After the swim exit, it was a short run across the beach to the start of the transition area. The over 500 transition boxes were positioned along a narrow 150m stretch. Due to being only the second box deep within the 500-box line, by the time I’d reached it, most of the sand had fallen off my feet. The wetsuit came off quickly, and although I encountered a minor mishap with a snapped lace while putting on my trainer, I attempted to tie a makeshift knot, which didn’t work, so I just set off to begin the run.
The run itself went as well as I could have hoped, I managed to overtake the group I’d come out of the swim with, but I knew I was too far back to catch up to the lead group. Instead, I opted to hold onto my 8th position and enjoy the support from the crowd.
I also had the chance to meet Alistair Brownlee and Kristian Blummenfelt competing on the Saturday and supported Joe Skipper on the Sunday.
Looking forward to having the opportunity to race again later this year at the European championships being held in Belgium. A big thank you to the support from the club in particular Ken, Caroline and Janice 😊
From the Tri Anglia coaches:
Matt Lightfoot has been a junior Tri-Anglia member since 2015. He won our club junior Endeavour Award in 2017 and he received our top award for 2022 Youth Male of the Year at our recent AGM.
Matt attends our swim coaching sessions for our older juniors and his dedication to training and natural talent makes him a joy to coach. Ken has also been working with Matt to prepare him for his races and the commitment that Matt gives to his training is outstanding. Coaching the current British Champion is a privilege and we are all delighted for him for his success at the ‘Worlds’ and look forward to seeing his progression in the future.