Team Scotland Triathletes are enjoying home comforts as they complete their final Commonwealth preparations. The five-strong squad are undergoing a full schedule of swimming, cycling and running at the Team Scotland Preparation Camp being held at the University of Stirling.
And it’s a home-from-home for three of the squad, Marc Austin, Grant Sheldon and Natalie Milne all currently Stirling students, whilst David McNamee completed an Accountancy degree there in 2011.
Leeds-based Triathlete Seonaid Thompson will join up this week as the coaches, based at triathlonscotland’s Performance Centre on campus, prepare their charges for the Men’s Individual Triathlon on Thursday 24 July and an exciting Mixed Team Relay event two days later.
The individual event starts with a 1500m open water swim before a 40km cycle and a 10km run. The Mixed Team Triathlon Relay is a fast-paced tag-team event which sees two men and two women from each country swim 250m, cycle 6.6km and run 1.6km.
Strathclyde Park will play host to both Triathlon events and for Sheldon, who hails from Hamilton, he can’t wait to compete in his home city. He said: “I took my last semester out of studies to focus on qualifying for the Games and I’m delighted to make it. We’re training really hard – the average day is a morning swim for two hours then after a bit of breakfast we get out on the bike for a few more hours then a run session in the evening. It can be quite hectic, but I enjoy it.”
McNamee won the 2011 World U23 Triathlon Championship Silver medal during his time at Stirling and the 26-year-old has since steadily risen up the rankings. He enjoyed three top ten finishes in the 2013 World Triathlon Series before suffering a serious arm injury, but is now back to full fitness and enjoying the challenge that lies ahead.
“It’s going to be a tough competition with the Brownlee brothers - the Olympic Gold and Bronze medallists - on the start line,” said McNamee, who is part of a coaching group which includes World No.4 ranked Richard Murray of South Africa. “For me, behind the Brownlees there are six of us fighting it out and in triathlon anything can happen so we’ll see on the day.
“The coaching group has been really successful and I’m enjoying the new challenge. It’s good to be surrounded by world class athletes as it pushes you on to keep improving. Having come back from surgery in February, I’m even more determined to get on the podium. The strength has come back in my arm and I was sixth at the European Championships last month so I’m in good shape. There’s time now to do some more training and I’m going into Glasgow even fitter and confident of getting a good result.”
Confidence is high throughout the Triathlon team, with Natalie recording an impressive fourth place finish at the Jenson Button Triathlon on Saturday (12 July).
Photo credit: Jeff Holmes