20 Aug 2013

Rowing to Triathlon

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Why triathlon and why distance triathlon?

This is a question I’ve been asked a lot lately and until now, not one that I’d really given a lot of thought. I used to row, which as a sport is contested over 2km against 5 other crews and usually takes a little under 6 minutes.  So I can see that it may be hard to draw parallels between that and an ironman, where the swim alone is almost twice the distance and rather than looking across the start line at 5 other crews a mass start of 1500 is considered pretty standard and anything around 8 hours for the days work means you got off pretty lightly.

I love rowing. There is no feeling I have ever experienced like having a four moving at full speed with everyone in the boat moving in exactly the same rythym and timing and exerting just enough force and energy against each other to move the boat in one direction. The crispness of sound that four blades entering the water at one precise time is knowledge that you are all doing your job right. I will always be a rower. But as much as rowing has shaped the way I train and race as an athlete the events that have transpired over the last few years in rowing have shifted my focus to a different sport with a new and equally unique set of challenges.

So why triathlon?.... I saw it as a sport that offered a fresh start that I could set my own individual goals in. The only person I have to blame at the end of the day if I don’t achieve them is myself. I am in complete control of how hard and how long I train. I’ve been enjoying finding out my weaknesses as an individual and what I need to do to make them strengths. Rather than weaknesses we had as a crew and what I need to change to affect the boat. To provide a bit more insight as to why… I swam from an early age and have always enjoyed it and cycling is a common tool used as cross training for rowing, despite most peoples perception rowing is leg dominant about 75% of your power in the boat is derived from the leg drive. Being that I was a lightweight we used running to help keep our weight under control. In 2008 I was having a break from rowing and a few of the other rowers had competed in ironman races so it seemed like a good challenge and a way to keep fit without rowing for a change. I knew Andrew Johns and he was giving us some guidance with training as we just did every session like we were rowing, which meant go as hard as you can for as long as you can then fall in a heap.

I really enjoyed the training and racing for triathlon but felt I had unfinished business back in the boat so I spent the next 3&1/2 years rowing and nothing else trying to achieve one thing. After failing I was searching for something that I felt I had more control over. AJ introduced me to Brett and Team Tbb, I’ve been really lucky to be given an opportunity to train with the squad under Brett’s watchful eye and so far I’m relishing the experience.

Todd Skipworth

Todd Skipworth

I'm an Australian born and bred happy go lucky guy. Im happy to give anything a go at least once and enjoy just about anything outdoors. I've spent the last 10 years or so rowing and was lucky enough to compete for Australia in 8 world championships and 2 Olympics in the lightweight 4-. The highlight being winning a gold medal in 2011. Both Olympics were also highlights but lows from a performance stand point. After London I decided to have a crack at some tri's and with some help from Andrew Johns I was lucky enough to be put in contact with Brett and Alex. Havnt looked back since loving the work and thankful for the opportunity to find The Best I can Be with Team TBB.

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