The past few years have not been easy for aquabike specialist Amy Pritchard, but the Tri London athlete made a sensational autumn return to scoop World and European titles for Great Britain’s Age-Group Team.
Pritchard, who used to swim competitively in her native Australia, surpassed her own expectations by taking age group gold in Bilbao at the European Aquabike Championships, over three years since her last race.
Two months later she was again on top of the podium at the World Aquabike Championships in Abu Dhabi, despite coming down with a serious case of flu.
The mother of two’s achievements are made all the more impressive by the fact she has had to squeeze her already limited training time around challenging family circumstances and her work as a nuclear medicine technologist.
“In the first year of Covid, my son was diagnosed with Type One diabetes and that just really impacted our family so much,” she said. “It was and still is hard
“I can’t leave him alone now to go swimming or anything if he’s not awake because someone has to be watching his sugars at all times.
“It’s impacted on my availability to train and my sleep, which also has an impact on recovery, so I was super surprised with all my results this year and so pleased because the longer you leave it, the more doubt you have. It was just such a relief if anything that I got back to where I was, or better.”
The 44-year-old knows she can always count on her teenage son and daughter to support her before races, a boost which proved particularly timely when illness threatened to disrupt her World Championships in November.
“They’re very proud of me,” said Pritchard. “They were really kind, especially when I was very ill in Abu Dhabi. They were saying ‘it doesn’t matter, just keep going’.
“Luckily it worked out even though I was so ill. I got out of bed to race and the next day I went back to bed. I was literally just there to sleep, eat, race. I was so pleased I came away with the win.”
The Age-Group Team provide British Triathlon members with the opportunity to represent Great Britain internationally at World and European Championships in a variety of swim, bike, run disciplines and distances.
Championship racing opportunities are available in triathlon (swim, bike, run), duathlon (run, bike, run), aquathlon (swim, run), aquabike (swim, bike), cross duathlon (cross country run, mountain bike, cross country run) and triathlon (swim, mountain bike, cross country run) and winter duathlon (cross country run, ski, cross country run) and triathlon (cross country ski, mountain bike, run), with Pritchard gearing up to defend her Aquabike age group title in Pontevedra next year and compete at the World Super-Sprint Triathlon Championships.
“My goal going forward is not just to win my age but win all the age groups,” she said. “Then, if everything goes well, I’d like to try and be competitive amongst the swim, bike times in the triathlons.
“In Bilbao, when I was well, I had the fastest swim bike splits across all aquabikers but also all triathletes.
“I do like running but I’ve got arthritis in my knee and the more running I do, the more likely later in life my mobility will be affected. It’s sad to say in my 40s but that’s how it is.”
In addition to juggling training, competing, coaching and parenting, Pritchard has also set up a women only cycling club called ‘Giant Camden Team Liv’.
“After a group ride we realised we need something that isn’t intimidating for women,” she said.
“We set up a club where I’ll help them get used to their new bike and even teach them things like signalling.
“We’ve got this really nice, nurturing environment and a range of people including world champions and women who just prefer to do social riding.”
Find out more about representing the Great Britain Age-Group Team and competing in British Age Group Championships on the link below: https://www.britishtriathlon.org/events/championships-and-qualifiers.
Images provided by athlete.