National titles on the line at Triathlon England Aquathlon Championships

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Although the warm temperatures may have passed by the time the Triathlon England Aquathlon Championships are held on Sunday (19 June), still expect things to heat up with national titles and medals on the line.

Sywell Country Park will welcome age group athletes from across the country as they race over the swim-run format of aquathlon for the opportunity to become English champion and stand on the Triathlon England podium.

Athletes will start with a 750m swim in the open water of the retired reservoir, before a 5km run around the lake to the finish line.

Ben Sommerville is one of the athletes who heads to Northamptonshire having won gold last year in the 20-24 age group.

“Last year’s aquathlon championship event was my breakthrough moment as an athlete, not only did I execute a really good physical performance on the day I also achieved a national title,” Sommerville reflected.

“For me, it was an accumulation of almost 10 years of sacrifices, choices, hard work and commitment, but it was also a really fun experience too because I love swimming, I love running. To race that event and achieve a gold medal it was just an amazing feeling.

“It took me completely by surprise to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it. The whole experience was incredibly positive, incredibly motivating and something I still look back on to this day and feel really proud of.

“I’m really looking forward to the weekend. It’s an opportunity to go out on a new course venue, race at a championship event, race different people to test myself against the other top age groupers in this country in a sport that I absolutely love and enjoy doing.”

Fiona Betts competes in the female 50-54 age group and will be on the start line ahead of making her Great Britain Age-Group Team debut at the World and European Championships later this year.

Ahead of the Triathlon England Aquathlon Championships, Betts said: “I found aquathlon through my dislike of cycling, but when I say I dislike cycling I still have done the London classics, a few 70.3 and I’ve just comeback from Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon which was a fantastic experience.

“I only came to triathlon a few years ago and took-up running in 2018, so I’m always proud to compete, irrespective of my finishing position. My favoured discipline is probably the opposite to many aquathletes, who seem to come more from a swimming background. I’m a runner first, swimmer second but I like the challenge of seeing how many athletes I can chase down in the run.”

It’s been a busy few weeks for Betts who started the month in San Francisco taking part in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and then competed in a middle distance event last weekend.

“With the swim being less than 1k, it means I won’t be as far behind coming out of the water as I am with longer distances,” Betts said. “It’s always great to race against other age groupers and the championships draw a competitive field. Due to the disruption caused by Covid, I’ve yet to represent GB, despite qualifying in 2020, so the home nation championships are the closest I’ve got so far.

“It’s been a busy few weeks as I did another 70.3 last weekend, a week after Alcatraz, so I shall just be grateful to finish.”

To be eligible for a medal, athletes must be a Triathlon England member.

Find out about upcoming British and National Championships below.

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