Bright and pleasant conditions at this year’s Eton Sprints welcomed just under 1,000 triathletes at Dorney Lake last Saturday (23 May), with qualifying spots for the ITU World Champs in Chicago this September up for grabs.
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ITU qualifier age-group waves started heading off from 9am, and it didn’t take long for all areas of the flat and fast course to be populated by focused athletes. The first person back was Hannah Lord who also clocked up the fastest female time of the day. Hannah’s dolphin-like swimming abilities saw her take an early lead which she maintained and even strengthened finishing in 1:05:56, four minutes ahead of closest rival Zoe Cresswell.
Competing in the ‘junior’ category, Ryan Griffiths blew competition from all age groups apart as he completed the sprint course in a stunning 1:00:28. Ryan was consistently fast in all disciplines, but especially notable was his swim time of just 9:14. Danny Russell (Tri Training Harder) was his closest opposition, with Edward Castro (Bedfordshire Road Cycle Club) just pipping Harry Palmer into third best male time of the qualifiers.
Once the qualifiers were over, the Eton Sprint age group waves got underway, and another famous face was to be seen competing. Phillip Graves, the youngest triathlete to win an Ironman competition, is an inspiration to many.
Athletes of all abilities got the special opportunity to compete with him today, but unsurprisingly he took an assured victory, and was the only person on the day to complete the course in under an hour, finishing in 58:57. Scott Wiseman (Ashford Tri Club) and Oliver Bradford (Ful-On Tri) were Phillip’s closest competition but were several minutes behind despite clocking up fantastic times.