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Diving deeper with Triathlon England South West Club of the Year Torbay Tri Club

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Torbay Tri Club have been named Triathlon England South West Club of the Year and have been highly commended at the national awards.

Having been established in 2013 as part of Torbay Athletics Club, the club became a fully-fledged triathlon club and now have 240 members.

Based at Paignton Leisure Centre, the club have regular swim, bike and run sessions for members and newcomers to get involved with, including making the most of the velopark next to the leisure centre.

The club caters for those of all abilities, with their ‘chatty runs’ on a Tuesday including a self-titled ‘shufflers group’.

“Leaders take people out for about an hour at various paces,” commented Graeme Kay, club chair. “The self-titled ‘shufflers group’ is basically like the couch to 5k group and consists of people who want to get into running. They run for a minute, walk for a minute and gradually build up.”

The club have had around 100 new members join across the last year, with Kay joking that it’s the free cake on a Wednesday and using Curly Wurlys as rewards that keeps bringing people along.

“We literally get one or two new members a week and then they say to their mates that it’s really good and it snowballs,” he added. “We do a lot of in-house free events, none of our coaches are paid and membership is £32 a year.”

Through the summer the club also organise sea swim sessions at Goodrington, with these proving popular amongst club members and non-members alike.

“Someone would guard kit and after one week someone bought cake, then it snowballed and two people bought cake and then it became known as cake club rather than swim club.

“Anybody that wanted to swim, they didn’t have to be in the club because the sea is anybody’s, they found out people were sea swimming and they could leave their kit and we found we got loads of people turn up and they were bringing cake as well.

“Last year we decided we’d buy some buoys and put out eight buoys in rectangle formation for a 600m course and they’re much closer than the buoys we used to swim out to, so beginner swimmers could swim close to the shore and feel safe. We probably get 60% members of the club and 40% members of the public.”

The buoys were bought by the club through a successful grant application from the local parish council and they received a discounted laying rate from Torbay Council to get them placed, with the buoys left out throughout the year, even surviving the winter storms.

They were also successful in receiving a community grant from South West Water to purchase some portable solar lighting to use at the velopark, allowing them to continue to use the unlit park for bike and run sessions in the winter evenings.

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