5 Minutes with Rhiannon

Introduction: From Elite Rower to Amazing Triathlete. I know you will all enjoy hearing her candid responses.

SB: What was your last race and how did you go?

RH: Western Sydney 70.3. I knew it was going to be a hot flat course and I wanted to get a World Champion spot for South Africa this year. My PB so far had been 5:17 and I came 8th in Sydney with a time of 5:07. Really happy with this result.

SB: Can you tell us how you got into this sport?

RH: It was a bit of a ‘joint’ idea between me and James, he encouraged me to do the 70.3!

SB: What are your personal strengths that you bring into this sport?

RH: Rowing competitively for 13 years gave me the right mindset – the mental toughness needed, and the endurance/fitness. Even though our race was 2000m and would take 6 – 8 minutes depending on the boat, our training was 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

SB: That would be training equally your fast twitch and slow twitch muscles? Maybe some lactic building up…vomiting…?

RH: Yes! And I don’t miss that! Haha. We trained morning and afternoon. There was a lot of discipline needed and I think that is a strength I bring across to triathlon.

SB: What’s your favourite leg of the race?

RH: The bike. I love the bike. It’s similar muscle groups to rowing and I apply the same discipline. Worst is the swim, I have no background in the swim. I was swimming for 6 months and my Coach told me to breathe out into the water and I’m like “breathe out in the water?” I thought I had to breathe in and out when my head was out of the water! (I’ll bet swimming got a whole lot better with this moveJ)

SB: Do you feel you react to ‘the pack’? Or is this all about a time trial against yourself? Is it a conscious decision for you to ‘win’ or ‘try your best’?

RH: You always see the person in front of you and work towards them, but you have to know what you are capable of and race to your plan.

SB: What was your best race ever?

RH: It would have to be Western Sydney. Everything went to plan. Not only a PB in some really hot conditions but snagging a qualification spot was absolutely awesome. Plus it was a bit of a home coming. One of my last visits to Penrith previously had been rowing for Australia at a World Cup.

SB: Worst race ever?

RH: My very first 70.3 in Ballarat! I had a panic attack in the water for the first 100m or so before I could get myself together and I didn’t fuel well on the bike so I really struggled.

SB: (Getting a bit personal) what might we never know/guess about you?

RH: I was born in Wales, raised in Alice Springs and moved to Adelaide for Uni so didn’t start rowing until 18 – which is older than most, and I’m not a natural I had to work at it.

SB: What’s your most embarrassing moment during a race/training?

RH: Touchwood so far there hasn’t been any cringeworthy moments!

SB: What was your biggest ‘Rookie’ error?
RH: that would be the Ballarat race with the fuelling. I just didn‘t have enough. I have a checklist that I check 3 times now! I’m actually pretty organised.

SB: Do you carry a lucky charm/have a special mantra?

RH: No not really. I just go through the routine/race plan in my head ticking it all off mentally. I do have a bit of a silly little fist bump/high 5 sort of thing James and I do for as sort of pre-race ritual!

SB: So, what’s next?

RH: I have Geelong 70.3 coming up and then Victor. I’ll probably do a few local run events, although I find running…tough. And then some local bike racing over winter to help get ready for the Worlds in September. Racing makes you faster.

SB: Before we finish off, is there anything else you would like to add?

RH: I think I need to thank my fellow Lakers and the Club! It’s been such a warm and welcoming environment. I’ve met some wonderful people in the past 18 months whose encouragement and guidance has been invaluable.

Text by Susanê Belkhiati   |   Image supplied by Rhiannon Hughes

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