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5 May 2021
5 min read
Championship, Macca’s Column
Column by 4x World Champion Chris McCormack
When I look at the Super League Triathlon 2021 Championship Series we have just announced I immediately see two types of athletes.
There are the athletes who are going to qualify for the Olympics, which is the majority of the Super League field, and there are also athletes who won’t go to the Games.
The latter are in a different part of the season and have different focuses which could really open it up.
Athletes like Sophie Coldwell, Beth Potter or Alex Yee, who are Olympic worthy but may not go, have the chance to focus on Super League and really shake things up.
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Once the Olympics are out of the way a month of back-to-back Super League racing poses a difficulty. A lot of people say you can build during that month and get fitter as you go, but if you are flat or missed your training progressions slightly, it is very hard to refine your craft when you have no time in between.
If you ever have a one week break you can build into it, but this will be race, recover, pack your bike, fly, prepare for the next race and do it all again.
The fact the majority of the early racing is in western Europe makes the travel component a little easier, but those specific workouts between races are controlled and their can be nothing worse than trying to find form and find race speed in the middle of a month of racing, with very little ability to lock down those harder sessions without encroaching on fatigue levels that may disrupt the next event.
This is what makes triathlon such a balancing act of sports. Form can be a difficult master to appease across three disciplines. That can present a problem for athletes who hit the series slightly off in their preparation.
A lot of the time you aren’t building into a race but holding the form you have. That means arriving at that first Super League race close to form is critical. You then use those races to peak.
If you are underprepared or you are cooked it is going to be hard to build that work.
Racing week in and week out is something not a lot of athletes are used to, and particularly at the high intensity, lactate heavy, muscle soreness style racing that Super League delivers.
I am excited and I think everybody will be to see the racing back and the evolution of the athletes – it will have been two years since we’ve had Championship Series racing.
It’s amazing how quickly you age in athlete years and the stars two years ago may not necessarily be what they were. Athletes like Hayden Wilde, Vasco Vilaca and Tyler Mislawchuk have matured a lot so could be much more competitive.
I am really excited about Malibu because it brings in an element of racing I really like.
I always wanted to bring a race to Australia that had this style of beach swimming. Europeans often don’t swim well in waves, and it’s a strength Australians and New Zealanders definitely have.
I find it visually appealing for spectators because what tends to happen now in swimming races is that you get an order by the first swim buoy and then there is very little change.
But when you are in the ocean someone can catch a wave and come through the pack so you are never out of it.
That’s always been very good in Australian racing and kept the interest of television audiences and it’s good we have that element in Malibu as in September you can get waves there, which tend to break very close to where the last swim buoy will be.
I won the event many times by catching waves so I know how important it will be, especially if we finish with a swim. It’s about time we had some beach swims back in triathlon so I am very happy we are bringing that back at Super League.
I am proud of what Super League has become, how it looks and how the world is now buying into it.
My concern when we started growing as an organisation was that old triathlon people would just replicate what already existed.
Bringing in things like the Short Chute and jumps into the water sounded ridiculous when you brought them up, but I was always encouraging the team to think that it isn’t about what triathlon is, it’s about what triathlon can be.
Initially we had pushback as I don’t think anybody expected us to deliver something so good and when you are a disruptor some people don’t like it. Now we are accepted and here to stay.
On days like today I sit back and I am really happy. I see it through the eyes of an athlete and the best racing people from my era did was a similar style of racing in Australia and France in the 90s. Super League is version 10 of that and this Series is everything we envisaged as being possible.
The 2021 venues are remarkable. Bringing Super League to major city hubs in Europe with London and Munich has always been our aim.
Going back to Jersey, which is really the home of Super League, delivers a very nice course which is technical and provides all the things you need for a race, including the incredible support of the people of Jersey who really get behind it.
The Malibu race I know really well. I raced it for ten years, won it multiple times, and Zuma Beach is a great place.
Super League is an athlete driven vision to some degree, but they all realise the competitive comment of it is really cool and there is big engagement and it’s visually appealing.
I am proud of the team and I’m proud of where we are.
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