On Sunday, December 17, 2023, the City of Joondalup Coastal Quest Triathlon at Whitford Nodes in Hillarys hosted the 2023/24 Triathlon WA State Sprint Championship.
Coastal Quest features a high-energy, spectator-friendly course, drawing crowds along the run and bike paths. Rolling hills and a strategically placed roundabout introduce a challenging element for both seasoned athletes and beginners.
The day began with a refreshing cool breeze, gradually warming as the sun woke for the day. Although light winds created some choppy conditions during the swim starts, the brilliant blue of the ocean provided an ideal backdrop for the State Championship race.
The event was buzzing with fun energy all morning. Liv Smith, serving as both commentator and DJ, kept the atmosphere lively by taking song requests from the crowd. It was delightful to see members of the Mandurah Tri Club grooving along to Taylor Swift tunes.
With the added significance of being an interclub series event, the sight of club tents lining the event village was spectacular.
Despite a few unexpected setbacks on race morning, the event village and course were very well organised by Geoff and the team at XTR Multisport making for an exhilarating, quality race for all participants.
OPEN MALE RACE:
In the Open Male category, we saw some of WA’s best including Matt Burton (Oceanic), Kurt Wesley (North Coast), Reece Harris (Mandurah), David Bryant (Stadium), Ronan Hays (Mandurah), Rowan Kerr (XTR), Christophe Gardner (Bunbury), and Noah Tonkin.
Wesley and Harris were neck and neck first coming out of the swim and into T1 and out onto the bike, with a full minute lead ahead of Burton. Kerr and Hays were next out of the water followed by Tonkin, Gardner and Bryant.
Burton delivered an exceptionally powerful cycling performance, narrowing the one-minute gap and reclaiming the lead by the second lap. By the start of lap three and as transition approached, he further extended his advantage. His remarkable prowess in the run leg secured Burton a commanding lead, ultimately earning him the title of State Sprint Champion for the 2023/24 season.
The race unfolded with anticipation for a sprint finish between Wesley and Harris, who had maintained a neck-and-neck competition throughout. However, in a final burst of effort on the home stretch, Wesley surged ahead of Harris, securing a well-deserved silver medal. Harris finished just 4 seconds behind Wesley to claim third.
David Bryant was hot on his heels to land in fourth, with Hays (5th), Kerr (6th), and Gardner (7th) rounding out the field. Tonkin unfortunately dropped out of the race following T1.
OPEN FEMALE RACE:
The Open Female age group, though small, showcased remarkable talent at the start line, including past State Champions Aleisha Wesley (North Coast) and Sian Munks (UWA), along with Indie Arbuckle (XTR) and newcomer to elite racing, Ella Phelan (Perth).
Following the swim, two distinct packs formed: Wesley and Munks, with a 12-second gap between them, and Phelan and Arbuckle, separated by 5 seconds. As they transitioned to the second leg of the race, Munks had a super quick T1 to head out on the bike first.
Wesley quickly re-established her lead during the cycle leg, and delivered a commanding performance in the cycle and run to finish strong in first place. Although Munks showcased her strength and talent, mounting a powerful run to narrow the gap to just 5 seconds, Wesley proved to be unstoppable in the end. This victory not only secured her redemption from the Rockingham Foreshore Tri, where Munks had outpaced her on the final stretch, but also earned her the well-deserved title of State Champion.
Making her debut in the Open category, Phelan showcased a formidable cycling performance, manoeuvring through the rankings on the lapped course. Meanwhile, Arbuckle demonstrated remarkable consistency, and her strategic approach paid off with a powerful surge in the sprint finish against Phelan. Ultimately, Arbuckle secured the third-place victory, crossing the finish line just seconds ahead of her competitor.
BRYNT MCSWAIN TROPHY:
Brynt McSwain was a Triathlon WA member and previous State Champion who tragically lost his life in 2014. The trophy named in his honour is presented each year to the fastest Open Male at the State Sprint Championship.
The 2023 Brynt McSwain Trophy was presented to Matt Burton (Oceanic).
The presence of Brynt’s mother, Snow, and brother, Dayan, at the event added a poignant touch as they personally presented the perpetual trophy.
Remarkably, Dayan, in a heartfelt tribute to his brother, participated in the Coastal Quest Triathlon himself on Brynt’s original bike.
This marked his inaugural triathlon experience, all in honour of Brynt’s memory.
The Brynt McSwain trophy has a fitting home at Churchill Cycles, where Brynt had worked. It was heartening to learn that they had provided assistance to Dayan in restoring the old bike, allowing him to compete in the event. This act is a touching testament to the enduring spirit of camaraderie and remembrance within the triathlon community.
AGE GROUP STATE CHAMPIONS:
|Joao Carlos Bernardes-Neto