Skip to content
Sep 16 14

Perth mum has only one arm but is a triathlon world champion

by ZwemZa
Sally Pilbeam says the swimming leg of triathlons came most naturally to her - even after the loss of her right arm.Sally Pilbeam says the swimming leg of triathlons came most naturally to her – even after the loss of her right arm. Photo: Delly Carr, ITU Media

In some ways, Sally Pilbeam seems like plenty of other mums. Keen to get fitter after having her second child, she joined a triathlon training group and began competing in low-key, local events.

In other ways, Sally Pilbeam seems pretty unique.

To start with, she competes despite losing her right arm from the shoulder 12 years ago as a result of cancer. And then there is the fact that two weekends ago – only two-and-a-half years after rejoining the triathlon fold – she became a world champion, beating her nearest rival by almost five minutes in Edmonton, Canada.

Sally Pilbeam has overcome her trepidation to be capable of reaching speeds of up to 60km/h on her racing bike.Sally Pilbeam has overcome her trepidation to be capable of reaching speeds of up to 60km/h on her racing bike. Photo: Keith Hedgeland, Triathlon Australia

“I still don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Pilbeam, who returned home to Perth late last week, said.


“Even now, when people have congratulated me, I still don’t think I quite realise what has happened.

“It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve worked really hard to get here.”

A desire to get fitter after struggling through a run was the original impetus for Sally Pilbeam's return to triathlons.A desire to get fitter after struggling through a run was the original impetus for Sally Pilbeam’s return to triathlons. Photo: Delly Carr, ITU Media

Pilbeam, a physical education teacher, first competed in triathlons in her teens. But it wasn’t until 2012 – after struggling through the run leg of an  Anaconda Adventure Race, in which she teamed with husband Matt – that she decided to make a comeback to one of the sporting world’s most demanding disciplines.

The swimming part, Pilbeam says, came easy enough (she swam the 750 metres in Edmonton in 14 minutes and 29 seconds – more than 40 seconds quicker than the runner-up and nearly five minutes faster than the third placegetter).

Her running has improved markedly, with her personal best time for five kilometres dropping from 37 minutes to 24 minutes (Pilbeam recorded a time of a little more than 26 minutes in Canada).

But the bike has offered the biggest challenge of all.

“Swimming is what has always come naturally to me, even after I lost my arm,” Pilbeam explained.

“The bike for me has been the most difficult because of the balance you need and the confidence you’ve got to have.

“I started out with just a flat bar bike and now I have a time trial bike. I got up to 60km/h downhill at the world champs so that’s a fair bit of speed but it’s taken a lot of time on the bike for me to get to that point.”

Matt played a crucial hands-on role in his wife’s win in Canada, which followed other 2014 victories in Melbourne and Japan.

But sons Ben and Nick had to wait until their parents returned home to see mum’s gold medal.

“To be honest, I think they were just as excited to see me home as the medal. They’re probably sick of people telling them how proud they must be of their mum,” Pilbeam joked.

“Seriously though, they were very happy [for me]. And my husband was there with me for all of it – he acts as my handler in transitions, he’s my sports psychologist and he’s the one who, when I pestered him about buying a bike, went and got one.

“I would never have made it there without him.”

Pilbeam has been given two weeks off by her coach Andrew Budge but she has a busy couple of years ahead.

The World Triathlon Championships will be held in Chicago next year and she will likely find out in October whether she will have the chance to compete for a spot in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

There are five paratriathlon categories – Pilbeam competes in PT3 – but only three will be selected for the Rio de Janeiro games.

Fellow WA paratriathlon competitors Brant Garvey (PT2) and Claire McLean (PT4) also had top-10 placings in Edmonton.

Simon White
Sep 16 14

China continue domination in Russia

by ZwemZa

(OLY2012)BRITAIN-LONDON-DIVING-MEN'S SYNCHRONISED 10M PLATFORM-GOLDThe last day of the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Penza (RUS) appeared to be very stressful and tense for all the participants but especially for the Russian athletes looking for the first gold medal at their home championship.

In the Girls B 3m springboard final, Tatiana Stepanova finished fourth, 20 points behind the bronze medallist and 27 behind the leader. Ekaterina Nekrasova, who claimed silver on the lower board, came only seventh. The two Russian divers walked through the mixed zone with their heads down and refused to talk to journalists. Australian Georgia Sheehan delighted with her performance and was, on the other hand, very communicative and jovial. She earned her third medal of the competition, this time the gold, totalling 407.65. Georgia overtook another favourite of the championship, Song Anxin from China (404.30) and Christina Wassen from Germany (400.40).

On her successful results, Sheehan said: “I’m so happy with my dives. I’ve got my third medal here. Now I have a full collection: gold, silver and bronze. I’ve prepared a very strong and difficult programme and that’s why I could be on the podium in several events”.

Georgia Sheehan was pleased with the level of the competition. “I must say that diving is a painstaking job. But I enjoy it. I also appreciate competing and travelling around the world. I like it here in Penza. The pool facilities were very good and the crowd was very nice”.

The Boys A 5-7.5-10 platform final, which closed the event, was thrilling. Russian Igor Mialin won the qualification and was expected to fight for the gold medal. Penza is his native city so he had a powerful fan base. Even Olympic champions Igor Lukashin and Yulia Pakhalina were supporting him. After the first dive, Mialin was only 0.65 points behind his opponent from China Tai Хiaohu. In the second attempt, Tai Хiaohu appeared a bit nervous and did not excel, scoring 4-4.5 for his dive. Mialin took the lead. But after successive mistakes, the Russian missed the next three attempts and pulled himself back to the final fifth place. Tai Хiaohu refocused, performed two more impressive dives and conquered the gold with a total of 565.55. His teammate Li Ping’an came second totaling 538.50. Bronze went to Kyle Kothari from Great Britain (536.00). The former junior world champion Nikita Shleikher (RUS) finished only seventh, obtaining 497 points.

As always, China – despite bringing the “second” national team to Penza – showed its supremacy in the field. In total, Chinese divers picked up 14 medals (7-2-5). Australia took the second positon with two gold, one silver and three bronze. Mexico came in third: 1-2-2 (5). Denmark, USA, Colombia and Japan also earned one gold each. Russia came second taking into account the total number of medals, getting eight podiums: 0-7-1.

Girls B, 3m springboard

1. Georgia Sheehan (AUS), 407.65
2. Song Anxin (CHN), 404.30
3. Christina Wassen (GER), 400.40

Boys А, 5-7.5-10 platform

1. Tai Xiaohu (CHN), 565.55
2. Li Ping’an (CHN), 538.50
3. Kyle Kothari (GBR), 536.00

Medal table
1. China 7 2 5 14
2. Australia 2 1 3 6
3. Mexico 1 2 2 5
4. Denmark 1 1 – 2
5. USA 1 – - 1
6. Colombia 1 – - 1
7. Japan 1 – - 1
8. Russia – 7 1 8
9. Great Britain – 1 2 3
10. Germany – - 1 1


Sep 16 14

Mum, 50, wins swim

by ZwemZa

Cover OWS 12At an age where most people would be contemplating retirement, 50-year-old Christie Krenkels is out winning swimming championships.

The fiery Australian was fielded among tough swimmers from New Zealand and her home country during the Mana Ocean Swim Festival hosted by Mana Island Resort and Spa-Fiji last week.

She stamped her mark during the competition, taking out the 10 kilometre solo women’s title and claiming second sport during the 5km race.

Inspired by her Olympian father Bruce Bourke to join the sport, Ms Krenkels says she has never regretted the decision to be a swimmer.

Originally from Manly Beach, Sydney, Ms Krenkels says she has been swimming ever since she can remember.

“Every photo that I have ever seen of myself has water in the background,” she says.

“My father was an Olympic swimmer who represented Australia in 1948 in London. He was a 100m freestyler and backstroker so he introduced us to swimming.

“I loved it and my brother went on to compete in sailing so he stayed with the water. He became an Olympic yachtsman so I guess that love of competition is in our veins as well.”

This was the first time she competed in Fiji.

“I actually won this swim in a series called the Fine Ocean Series, which is run by Paul Ellercamp of Australia, and it is a series of roughly nine swims and it was based on age and gender.

“If you were old and female, you had more chances of winning than the younger, very fast boys. So it gives you a chance and I ended up winning the series and the prize was a trip to Mana.

“I’m very lucky to have brought my young son who has been a tremendous bag carrier for me, but he enjoys life as much as I do and relishes an opportunity to go and have a swim. We’ve grown up by the water so it’s very easy to adapt to this lifestyle.”

Accompanied by her young son Tyler, the duo was a sight to see as the mother and son combination was successful in securing titles during the competition.

Eleven-year-old Tyler Krenkels was crowned the winner of the 500m race.

However, it hasn’t just been about the swimming competition for the duo.

The trip to Fiji was also a chance for them to experience the Fijian lifestyle first-hand and Ms Krenkels says she was amazed by the amazing hospitality by not only the resort staff but villagers as well.

“We’ve been to the local school and my son played touch football with the other boys. We’ve been keeping in contact with them (Fijian villagers) and I like an experience that has you keeping in contact with the locals and that’s certainly what it has been.

“I have three kids — two are at home and one is doing his studies (high school certificate) and Tyler was the lucky one who could get out of school. We have a lot of friends here who are also from Australia.

“I love watching Tyler swim and I love competing myself. To have a holiday on the back of everything is fantastic and I couldn’t think of anything better in the world.”

For Tyler, the competition was really good. He says he is really happy to go home with a win for him and his mother.

The Year Five student has been swimming since he was three and is looking forward to coming back to Fiji to participate in more swimming competitions.

Shayal Devi

Sep 16 14

Magnussen splits with coach ahead of Rio

by ZwemZa
James Magnussen celebrates after winning the gold medal in men's 100m Freestyle final at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland (Reuters)

James Magnussen celebrates after winning the gold medal in men’s 100m Freestyle final at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland (Reuters)

Australian swimming star James Magnussen says he’s decided to split with long-time coach Brant Best to reinvigorate himself ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.

The two-time swimming world champion and Olympic silver medallist confirmed in a statement issued on Monday he’d ended his four-year partnership with Best.

“Brant has been such an important part of my journey as a professional swimmer, and in shaping me as person,” he said.

“Those things combined have made this decision incredibly difficult.”

Magnussen cited the desire for a fresh environment and challenges ahead of the 2015 Kazan World Swimming Championships, as well as Rio, as the reasons behind his decision.

“I have resolved that in order to refocus my program, and to achieve a sense of renewed invigoration, part of that change process involves working with a new coach,” he said.

Under Best, he won world titles in 2011 and 2013 and claimed silver in the 100m freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics.

But a back injury has hampered 23-year-old’s form more recently.

Earlier this month, the persistent complaint forced the 100m freestyle world champion to withdraw from Singapore’s Swim Stars event.

Magnussen is currently taking a six-week break from the pool to recover.

A spokesperson for Swimming Australia said head coach Jacco Verhaeren was helping Magnussen consider options for his future.

He is expected to name a new coach in coming weeks.


Sep 16 14

Grimsey falls 15 seconds short of beating record from SF to Alcatraz

by ZwemZa
Trent Grimsey

Trent Grimsey

An Australian man fell 15 seconds short of breaking the record currently held by a Tiburon resident of swimming back and forth from San Francisco to Alcatraz.

Trent Grimsey swam from Aquatic Park to Alcatraz Island and back in one hour, five minutes and 30 seconds.

Tiburon resident Bob Placek has held the record of swimming the same distance in one hour, five minutes and 15 seconds for the past 25 years.

While Grimsey would’ve rather missed the record by five minutes than 15 seconds, he said the swim was “good fun” and was not disappointed with himself.

“It was a world-class effort by a world-class swimmer,” South End Rowing Club President Bill Wygant said.

Grimsey, 26, is a native of Brisbane, Australia. In 2012, he broke the world record of swimming across the English Channel, a distance that stretches about 21 miles, in six hours and 55 minutes.

Wearing a swimming cap and trunks, Grimsey started the 2.7-mile roundtrip swim from San Francisco to Alcatraz Island around 8:30 a.m.

Grimsey noted the waters were warmer than he expected and faced difficulty swimming back toward Aquatic Park.

Wygant was following Grimsey on a boat during the swim and said it took about 30 minutes for the world-class swimmer to reach the east end of the island, which was not a faster time than expected.

Once Grimsey reached the west end of the island he accelerated back toward San Francisco despite flood currents working against him, Wygant said.

Even though the water conditions weren’t optimum for Grimsey, Wygant appreciated him for completing the swim, despite not surpassing Placek’s record.

“Whether successful or unsuccessful we’re all a little more capable than what we thought we were,” Wygant said.

Grimsey’s accolades include being a three-time Australia Open Water Champion, three-time King of the Sea Champion, FINA Grand Prix Open Water Champion and World Open Water Championship silver medalist.

Jamey Padojino

Sep 16 14

Venue change for Bute swimming conference

by ZwemZa

Cover OWS 11Organisers of the World Open Water Swimming Association’s global conference, taking place on Bute this weekend, have announced a late change of venue for the event.

The conference, which runs from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, will now take place at the Isle of Bute Discovery Centre in Rothesay, instead of at Mount Stuart as originally planned.

The venue for an open water swim at 2pm on Sunday, bringing the event to a close, has also been changed – it will now take place at Kerrycroy Bay on the island’s east coast, instead of at Stravanan Bay on the west.

A spokesman for Vigour Events has explained that: “A decision was taken by Vigour Events to switch the conference to an alternative venue. Representatives of the Mount Stuart Trust have been fully supportive of us during the process and have provided excellent assistance in helping us to organise a new venue on Bute.

“The conference will now take place in the Isle of Bute Discovery Centre and we are thankful for the help of Visit Scotland in arranging this. Delegates will still have the opportunity to tour Mount Stuart over the weekend and we hope they will enjoy this tour as part of an excellent weekend in Bute.”

Mount Stuart itself was due to be closed to the public this weekend to allow the conference to take place, but the house and grounds will now be fully open to the public on both Saturday and Sunday.

Vouchers for reduced entry are to be distributed to island accommodation providers and to the Discovery Centre before a busy weekend on the island, which also sees the Baird of Bute Festival of Flight on Saturday and the Bute Wheelers’ Festival of Cycling on both Saturday and Sunday.

A spokesperson for Mount Stuart Trust said: “Whilst it is unfortunate that the conference is not being held at Mount Stuart, we are pleased that we could work with Vigour Events to find an alternative venue on Bute.

“Delegates visiting the conference will still be able to sample the excellent hospitality the island has to offer and we look forward to welcoming these visitors for tours of the house over the course of the weekend.”

Craig Borland

Sep 15 14

Four performance-boosting grains

by ZwemZa

You probably already know that, nutritionally, whole grains trump refined grains—that’s why you load your grocery cart with brown rice, whole-wheat bread and oatmeal. But maybe you’ve become a bit blasé about these familiar items. Thankfully for carbohydrate-craving triathletes, it has never been easier to find a marvelous assortment of whole grains on store shelves or in bulk bins. Look for them at any well-stocked health food/natural food store, or try or Many of the following grains have the goods to boost performance and awaken a bored palate. Here are four great grains to stock in your pantry.

Load up on antioxidants with: Black rice
Black rice, an heirloom variety of rice cultivated in Asia with a rich, sweet nutty taste and chewy texture, is the new bastion of the health-food movement. According to scientists at Louisiana State University, black rice, or more accurately, deep purple rice, possesses a surfeit of anthocyanin antioxidants, molecules that sweep through a body looking to knock out disease-provoking free-radicals. These are the same antioxidants responsible for the fetching hues of blueberries and blackberries. Athletes should seek out antioxidant-rich foods to help with muscle repair during training.

In the kitchen: As a general rule, you should simmer 1 cup black rice with 1 3/4 cups water for about 30 minutes. It can make a powerful addition to salads, pilafs, tabbouleh, stir-fries or even sushi rolls. For a healthy dessert, mix cooked black rice with coconut milk, palm sugar, ginger and diced mango.

Build muscle with: Amaranth
Similar to quinoa, the protein in amaranth is considered “complete,” meaning it contains a full arsenal of amino acids to help build bodily tissues such as muscles. The itsy-bitsy, nutty-flavored beige grain is also packed with fiber, bone-building phosphorus and magnesium. A number of studies suggest that diets high in magnesium can slash diabetes risk by improving insulin sensitivity. Bonus: Like black rice and teff, South American amaranth is gluten-free.

In the kitchen: You can toast amaranth grains in a dry saucepan until they pop like miniature popcorn, which adds textural contrast to salads, soups, stews and stir-fries. Or pour milk into a bowl of popped amaranth for a twist on cereal. Mixed with cinnamon, nuts and dried fruit, amaranth porridge is another smart breakfast option. Simply add 1/2 cup amaranth to 1 1/2 cup water and simmer for about 25 minutes until you get a porridge-like consistency. Amaranth flour can add a nutritious boost to muffins, pancakes or waffles.

Fight fat with: Spelt
A relative of wheat, spelt has a pleasant chewy texture and tastes both nutty and sweet. This ancient whole grain is packed with fiber—8g in each cooked cup. By keeping you feeling satisfied so you don’t overeat as well as preventing rapid rises in blood sugar, a high-fiber diet can go a long way in keeping a Buddha belly at bay. In fact, a recent study published in Archives of Internal Medicine that followed subjects over a nine-year period found that the men and women consuming the most fiber (29.4 grams per day for men and 25.8 grams for women) were 22 percent less likely to die from chronic disease than those consuming the least (12.6 grams per day for men and 10.8 grams for women). Other nutritional notables include iron, magnesium and zinc to bolster your immunity. Though spelt contains gluten, some people who are wheat-sensitive find it easier to digest.

In the kitchen: Spelt is a great substitute for rice in burritos, or try it in soups, salads and veggie burgers. To cook, place 1 cup of spelt berries in a saucepan along with 3 cups of water and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Spelt flour can replace whole-wheat flour in baked goods, but make sure to add additional liquid since the flour absorbs more water. Also try spelt pasta as your next post-workout meal.

Boost energy with: Teff
This prized Ethiopian staple derives its name from the Amharic word teffa, meaning “lost.” A fitting moniker considering 150 teff grains weighs about the same as a single kernel of wheat, so they are easily lost without careful pouring. The diminutive size of teff means that the nutrient-packed germ and bran constitute a larger percentage of its mass than other whole grains, making it a nutritional heavyweight with impressive amounts of fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, iron and immune-boosting zinc. Iron is part of the machinery that helps deliver oxygen throughout the body, including muscle cells, so it’s a must-have mineral to keep energy levels up. In fact, some credit a diet heavy in the teff-containing flatbread injera for some of the amazing athleticism of the Ethiopian distance runners.

In the kitchen: The rich flavour of teff marries well with other bold flavours such as dark maple syrup, cloves or hazelnuts. Teff can be cooked into a breakfast porridge similar in consistency to Cream of Wheat. Or use it in place of cornmeal for a riff on polenta. Also try incorporating teff flour into pancakes and baked goods.

Mathew Kady

Sep 15 14

Everything you need to know about fat

by ZwemZa
Photo: shutterstock

Fat has an unfortunate reputation. It is all too easy to believe that eating fat makes a person fat. Indeed, for many years most diet experts believed that it did, and many do even today despite compelling evidence that eating a fairly high-fat diet is no more likely to cause overweight than eating a high-carbohydrate or high-protein diet.

For example, in a 2002 review called “The Influence of Dietary Composition on Energy Intake and Body Weight,” Roberts et al. noted the following:

- Fat calories as a percentage of total calories in the American diet had fallen over the preceding 20 years while overweight and obesity rates had increased drastically

- Studies designed to determine whether people eat more calories when they eat more fat have generally concluded that they do so only when the energy density of foods is not controlled, suggesting that energy-dense foods rather than fat are the cause of weight gain

- Studies investigating the effects of reduced fat intake on weight loss have shown that reduced fat intake results in very little weight loss when calories are not controlled, suggesting that it is an excess of calories in general rather than of fat in particular that causes weight gain.

The anti-fat doctrine that prevailed for so long in society also prevailed in sports. Generations of endurance athletes, in particular, were schooled to aim for a 60-percent carbohydrate, 20-percent protein, 20-percent fat macronutrient breakdown in their diet. That’s a low-fat diet for sure, since the average American gets 34 percent of his or her calories from fat. While the carbohydrate piece of this formula stood on reasonably sure scientific footing (although it has been modified recently into a recommendation that carbohydrate calories as a fraction of total calories should vary with training volume), the fat piece never had any scientific support. In fact, much of the relevant science indicated that more fat was better.

For example, a study from the University of Buffalo found that female runners who got 30 percent of their calories from fat were significantly less likely to get injured than those who ate less fat. It is not likely that the extra fat itself protected the less-often-injured runners, however. Rather, those who ate the least fat probably did not get enough total calories to meet their bodies’ needs.

Another line of research has shown that higher-fat diets increase fat oxidation during prolonged exercise and may thereby increase endurance. Researchers from New Zealand compared the effects of a 14-day high-carbohydrate diet, a 14-day high-fat diet, and an 11.5-day high-fat diet followed by a 2.5-day carbo-loading diet on fat oxidation and performance in a 15-minute cycling test and a 100-kilometer cycling test. Performance in the 15-minute test was slightly better after the high-carb diet, but not to a statistically significant degree, while performance in the 100km test was slightly better, but again not to a statistically significant degree, following the high-fat diet. Fat oxidation was significantly greater during the 100-km test following the high-fat diet.

Other studies have found that high-fat diets reduce performance in shorter time trials by reducing carbohydrate oxidation. However, recent research indicates that endurance athletes can have the best of both worlds by maintaining a habitual higher-fat diet in training and then switching to a high-carbohydrate diet before competition. These studies have shown that the high-fat diet adaptation of increased fat oxidation capacity persists through the carbohydrate loading period, which in turn ensures that carbohydrate oxidation capacity is not compromised in competition.

A study from the University of Cape Town in South Africa found that a 10-day, 65-percent fat diet followed by a three-day, 70-percent carbohydrate diet increased performance by 4.5 percent in a 20km cycling time trial preceded by a glycogen depletion ride.

It also bears noting on this topic that the typical endurance athlete gets 30 to 35 percent of his or her daily calories from fat — substantially more than the minimum. Indeed, even most elite American endurance athletes maintain relatively high-fat diets. The fact that our most gifted runners, cyclists, rowers, etc. are routinely able to win national championships on a high-fat diet is the best possible proof that a high-fat diet is not inimical to endurance performance.

Based perhaps in part on this common sense consideration and the relevant science, the American Dietetic Association and the American College of Sports Medicine now recommend that athletes get 20 to 35 percent of their calories from fat. Gone is the notion that the minimal adequate level of fat intake is also the optimal or even the maximum acceptable level of fat intake. It is now recognized that many athletes can perform equally well at a range of fat intake levels, and that some individual athletes may need to experiment before they find their personal “sweet spot” within that range.

About The Author: Matt Fitzgerald is the author of numerous books, including Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance (VeloPress, 2012). He is also a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. To learn more about Matt visit

Sep 15 14

Ironman Wales 2014: Blood, sweat and tears for 2,000 athletes taking part in the long-distance triathlon

by ZwemZa
The ironmen make their way into the water at North Beach, Tenby

Nearly 2,000 athletes travelled to Wales from across the world this weekend, as Pembrokeshire played host to one of the world’s toughest sporting events.

A total of 1,850 competitors crossed the starting line of the Ironman Wales long-distance triathlon in Tenby, as they embarked upon a gruelling 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.

Volunteers arrived before sunrise to help set up the course and as the race started, the temperature was 18C, with a light covering of cloud.

By 6am, cafés in the town were full of spectators enjoying an early morning breakfast and the course looked dramatic as the sun rose behind St Catherine’s Island.

Organisers said Tenby was “buzzing”, with crowds twice as big as last year.

The cheering was deafening as the competitors, dressed in bright green swimming caps and black wetsuits, sprinted into the sea.According to the event’s website, North Beach is “one of the most iconic settings for an Ironman swim anywhere in the world.”

The first male competitor out of the water was Peru Alfaro San Ildefonso from Spain. One minute and 20 seconds behind him was Welshman Oliver Simon.

After leaving the water, the competitors ran up a kilometre-long incline towards their bikes, grabbing a purple bag containing their shoes on the way.

One car park in Tenby was transformed into a bike park, as hundreds of racing bikes covered in plastic yellow rain covers were lined up in rows for the athletes.

Matt Trautman from South Africa led the pack in the cycling. The crowds cheered as he flew past the 70-mile marker and his family were standing on the sidelines, waving South African flags and wearing bright yellow T-shirts bearing the slogan “Mighty Matt”.

Writing on Twitter before the race, he said: “Ready for one of toughest races on the circuit. No rain forecast, should be great.”

Race commentators have remarked on the “vociferous support” on the course.

During the 26.2-mile run, Matt Trautman and Fraser Cartmell, from Scotland, were neck and neck, but Trautman broke away and completed the race in nine hours, seven minutes and 28 seconds.

After running alongside him throughout, Cartmell had to be content with second place. His time was nine hours, 10 minutes and 16 seconds.

San Ildefonso finished in third place with a time of nine hours, 18 minutes and 28 seconds and joined Trautman and Cartmell on the podium.

Two British men finished in the top eight – Harry Springall, from Leeds, and Charlie Pennington, from Portsmouth.

In the woman’s race, Amy Forshaw, from London, led throughout, prompting commentators to speculate that the outcome of the woman’s race was a “foregone conclusion”. She crossed the line just before 6pm.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was among 2,000 athletes signed up to take part, but he was forced to pull out due a severe tear of his Achilles tendon.

The first 50 to finish will qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Liz Day

Sep 15 14

Can nutrition help muscle cramps

by ZwemZa

crampA young swimmer asked if there were any nutritional strategies that prevented muscle cramps.  If you have experienced the pain of an exercise-induced muscle cramp, you might just try anything to avoid another cramp.  Sucking on mustard packets from the local fast food joint to swallowing pickle juice have all been reported to be miracle cures for cramping. One report found that 25% of athletic trainers suggest pickle juice for immediate relief.  Muscle cramps have plagued not only athletes, but those who do hard, physical work in hot and humid conditions, like coal miners. But, while cramps are not uncommon in active folks, the reason for cramping remains in question. There are generally two theories on cramping and neither theory has been proven beyond a doubt to be the cause.

The first theory is that cramps are related to dehydration and loss of the electrolyte, sodium, especially in hot and humid environments. That is where mustard and pickle juice come in…both are concentrated sources of sodium. One study compared pickle juice to sports drinks, but did not show that pickle juice elevated blood sodium levels quickly enough to relieve cramps, yet some athletes do report relief. Another problem with this theory is that cramps occur in cool weather conditions or while swimming in cooler water, so there is more to cramping than just hot weather conditions.  Lastly, not every athlete who cramps is dehydrated.

The second theory is that cramps are caused by an imbalance in nerve signals to muscles, sometimes called the neuromuscular theory. Cramps tend to occur more frequently at the end of competition or hard physical work when the muscle is tired. Rest and stretching the cramping muscle are the treatment options based on this theory.

So, where does that leave the cramping swimmer? It still makes sense to ensure good hydration and have adequate salt intake. While it may not be the sole cause of cramps, dehydration can affect performance, and severe dehydration can result in life threatening heat illness. Research with football and tennis players have found that those athletes who have a high sweat rate and high sodium losses in sweat (the “heavy and salty sweater”) are cramp-prone. So, try these tips and see if they help reduce cramps:

  • Monitor your body weight by weighing before and after practice. If you lose more than 2% of your body weight (for example, a 150-pound swimmer who loses more than 3 pounds in a workout has lost over 2% of his body weight) try drinking about a liter (4 cups) of a sports drink 1 hour before your workout.
  • Add about 1/3 teaspoon of salt to a liter of sports drink (shake well) to make your own endurance formula sports drink.
  • Consume higher sodium foods or beverages in your pre-workout meal or snack; try chicken noodle or tomato soup, beef or turkey jerky, tomato juice, salted pretzels or baked chips.
  • Drink sports drink during your workout; keep a sports bottle handy and drink a few swallows when you can.

Chris Rosenbloom is a professor emerita of nutrition at Georgia State University and provides sports nutrition consulting services to athletes of all ages. She is the editor-in-chief of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Sports Nutrition Manual, 5th edition and editor-in-chief of an online Sports Nutrition Care Manual for health care professionals.

%d bloggers like this: