Why Sophie Coldwell Can Take The Win At The Amazing SLT Arena Games

Jessica Learmonth column Super League Triathlon Sophie Coldwell Kate Waugh Lucy Charles-Barclay

The SLT Arena Games in London is going to be such an exciting and amazing race if my experience in Rotterdam last year is anything to go by.

I remember turning up and not expecting it to be such a massive event and so well organised.

WATCH LIVE: SLT Arena Games London 2021

I was thinking it would just be a swimming pool with a few bikes at the side, but because of the signage, the lightning and the boards around the pool it looked so professional.

I knew the racing would be hard but I forgot how hot it is in swimming pools and I absolutely boiled! I think if the athletes competing in London haven’t thought of that yet then they need to.

You don’t consider it too much when you are racing but afterwards I pretty much passed out half an hour later because I was so hot.

Jessica Learmonth win the SLT Arena Games for Super League Triathlon

I had some tactics going into Rotterdam. I picked a discipline to go easy on and chose the swim because I’m a bit better at that. Thankfully, it worked out for me.

It was double draft on the bike on Zwift and you would think it’s harder to get away but once you are away I think it’s easier to stay in front because the people behind you are not going to chase you down.

If you sit at 5 watts per kg, somebody on your wheel can sit at 3. But if you get away then you can stay away because nobody wants to sit there for minutes at 3 when the whole pack is at 2.

It’s a great line-up for the race in London. It’s fantastic that Lucy Charles-Barclay is racing and I really love it when the long and short course athletes mingle like this.

My top tip for the race win is Sophie Coldwell. She is just so quick, loves the really short stuff and is strong across all three disciplines.

My underdog would be Kate Waugh. I think she will do really well. She’s only a young’un but strong on the bike and run and a decent swimmer. In pool swimming people can excel and swim a lot better than say a World Series event where they are getting battered.

There is obviously a lot of talk about Lucy racing short course and how she will do, but I think she will be absolutely fine.

This format may actually suit her more than a World Series race where her swim could be compromised because you get battered and it’s like a washing machine.

I don’t think she will struggle because she’s definitely used to swimming in a pool, we have seen she’s extremely good on the bike – she’s hammered all the rest of us on Zwift races for the last year – and on the run she’s strong.

I have every confidence she will smash it and really enjoy the experience.

My Simple Wish: Dealing With Injury As A Professional Athlete

It’s going to be a challenge for me to have to sit this event out and watch from the sidelines.

I’ve had an injury which has been really frustrating and made me take time off through the winter. It’s been hard but I am definitely on the road to recovery and will be back in the game soon.

It’s obviously a big year and one I can now feel more positive about. Of course there’s the Olympics, but for me personally I just want to get racing again.

There’s so much uncertainty but I would love to see a year where all the World Series events happen, Tokyo, and then Super League.

SLT Arena Games Super League Triathlon Jessica Learmonth

It’s a simple wish but I really hope it happens.

The Arena Games in London will be my first experience of sitting out of a race through an injury like this. When I’ve missed races before it’s been because I’ve chosen to.

I’m not even sure myself how it will feel, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be nice. I’ve been lucky that at least while I’ve been recovering there haven’t been races on. I feel for people who are injured and having to watch others race.

I have even thought about the possibility of not watching the Arena Games, but I can’t leave it alone. If it was a normal triathlon I might miss it, but this is Super League and so exciting that I think, even if it’s difficult to sit and watch and not be involved, I will have to take it and enjoy all the action.

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