Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Bolitho impressive in triathlon swim leg

Sam Bolitho impressed teammates in Saturday's Echuca-Moama Triathlon with a strong swim helping his team to first place.

LUKE MCMANUS January 22, 2014 4:05am

On Your Bike ring-in Sam Bolitho had big shoes to fill ahead of last weekend’s Echuca-Moama Triathlon.

Stepping in for founding member Steve Gray, Bolitho was handed the responsibility of the swim leg, on top of the pressure and expectation of helping the team win back-to-back titles.

In what was his first swim in open water, Bolitho produced a strong 10:10 time before sprinting into transition and tagging teammate Shane Roberts ahead of the challenging 20km bike ride.

Out of his comfort zone and without the luxury of a lane provided in a swimming pool, Bolitho admitted to finding the going tougher than he anticipated.

‘‘I really enjoyed it but it was a lot harder than I thought it would be,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a lot harder to see, that’s for sure. I had to stick my head up every third or fourth stroke to get my bearing and make sure I was heading in the right direction.’’

Told ahead of time about the usually hairy start involved in triathlons, Bolitho managed to escape the hustle and bustle by cleverly maneuvering his way to the front of the pack before the starter’s gun.

‘‘The start wasn’t as bad as I’d heard from people because I managed to get to the front early on,’’ he said.

‘‘There were a couple of swimmers trying to pull me back but nothing major.

‘‘I was in between the leaders and the main group for most of the swim which made it a little easier.’’

Bolitho’s time, added to Roberts’ 33:24 ride and Brady Threlfall’s 14:16 run, attributed to the team crossing the line first to claim its second consecutive team win.

Despite only 13 competitors emerging from the water before him, Bolitho felt he could have swum faster and hopes his performance is good enough to retain his place in the all-dominate team next year.

‘‘I didn’t do as well as I would have liked,’’ he said.

‘‘I was probably about half a minute slower than I wanted to swim.

‘‘I’m keen to come back but think I was expected to swim faster so I don’t know if I will get asked again.

‘‘I will make sure I train a bit harder to make sure I swim a better time.’’

However his teammates believe otherwise.

‘‘Sam did a great job,’’ Roberts said.

‘‘Considering it was his first time doing a swim like that in open water and a new experience, to finish just outside the top 10 was a great effort.’’

Luke McManus

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