From the world’s best paratriathletes to Great Britain’s next generation of paratriathlon talent to participants getting involved in swim, bike and run for the first time, Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea delivered a celebration of paratriathlon at all levels of the sport.
Britain’s first standalone World Triathlon Para Series event headlined a week-long Para Sport Festival in Swansea and South Wales, coordinated by Disability Sport Wales, and was the host of a full day of swim, bike and run activity and racing.
The first races to get underway were in the British Triathlon Paratri Super Series, a key part of the British Triathlon performance pathway featuring some of Great Britain’s up-and-coming paratriathletes.
They were the first athletes to experience the blue carpet and crossing the finish line and it was a special moment for Welsh paratriathlete Darren Williams, who was able to celebrate a home victory in the men’s PTWC.
“Being a proud Welshman it means a lot to me,” Willaims said. “To have an event like this in Swansea is massive and to be able to have the opportunity to experience it and also the camp earlier in the week I’m really grateful to have these opportunities.
“Being able to race and then watch the world’s best is something really unique and is going to be a great experience. It’s always great fun racing in the Super Series, I love racing in these races and having the competitive opportunities throughout the year.”
One of the closest battles of the day came in the men’s PTVI with Ronnie Robinson and his guide Joel Sharman holding off the challenge of Nathaniel Costigan, guided by Jude Whale, to claim their first Super Series win.
There was also a first win for Louis Rolfe with the Rio 2016 Paralympic champion in para-cycling winning the men’s PTS2 in only his second triathlon event since transitioning to paratriathlon.
Other winners in the Super Series races included Shona Brownlee (women’s PTS4), David Jones (men’s PTS4), Cheryl Went (women’s PTS5) and France’s Antoine Leymarie (men’s PTS5).
After winning the women's PTS4, Shona Brownlee said: “It’s a great atmosphere with the whole weekend of events and there’s lots of spectators so it’s a really supportive environment. When I think back to my first triathlon around this time three years ago to what I’m doing now it’s really great to see how I’m progressing.”
Women’s PTS5 winner Cheryl Went added: “This is my first full year competing in the Paratri Super Series and I’m loving it. This whole event and experience is pretty special, I never expected to do anything like this and the fact you get a little taster of what’s to come later today is really nice.”
Also ahead of the World Triathlon Para Series races in the afternoon, there was an opportunity for anyone with a disability to get involved in multisport through the GO TRI Disability Aquathlon.
Six participants completed the swim-run event which saw participants swim up to 100m in Swansea’s Prince of Wales Dock before running up to 1.5km and finishing on the blue carpet.
Eleven-year-old Alex Moran, who was born with fibular hemimelia, was one of the participants taking part and after crossing the line said: “I wanted to give an aquathlon a try because I’ve only done triathlons. It was really good fun, I was bit nervous beforehand, but I really enjoyed it.”
Sara Moran, Alex’s mum, added: “Alex loves his triathlon so it’s a fantastic experience for him to be able to be part of something like this. We’ll be staying to watch the races this afternoon so for Alex to be among other athletes with varying disabilities is really nice and actually quite inspirational.”
As part of Welsh Triathlon’s schools legacy programme which has seen more than 3,000 children engaging with swim, bike and run activities in the lead-up to the event, students got the unique opportunity to experience the event and the blue carpet finish through their own bike and run activity.
Britain’s first standalone World Triathlon Para Series event follows the first ever International Paratriathlon Conference, which was organised by British Triathlon in partnership with World Triathlon and held at Swansea University.
Interested in getting involved in paratriathlon? Visit the get involved page here or find out more about British Triathlon’s paratriathlon talent ID event on Sunday 11 September. More information can be found here.