Irish eyes will be focused on triathlete Aileen Morrison as she competes in Hyde Park at 9am, Saturday morning. Over half a million people are expected to line the streets of London as much of the event is free to view and the host nation has a serious medal contender.
Morrison will take her place on the left of the start pontoon wearing No. 28, flanked by 5 time World Series Winner Paula Findlay of Canada and 2011 Sprint World Champion Barbara Riveros Diaz of Chile.
In triathlon the saying goes that you can’t win it in the swim, but you can lose it and that will certainly be the case in the women’s race. The British team have selected super swimmer Lucy Hall with a view to splitting up the pack and dragging team mate and pre race favorite Helen Jenkins along with her.
If Morrison can stick with the pace and be a part of the leading pack starting the bike her hopes of a top 10 will have received a boost. Another important element to watch for is where major medal contenders Nicola Spirig and Gwen Jorgensen emerge from the water. If they are in the chase pack you can expect the leader’s to push the pace in an effort to keep them at bay going into the 10 kilometer run.
Morrison along with Triathlon Ireland’s High Performance Director Chris Jones attended the course familiarization on Thursday morning and listened closely to the swim draw. “Aileen’s high world ranking meant she received a nice position on the pontoon amongst a strong swim group. It brought a smile to her face when it was announced and gives the opportunity to stay in contention throughout the swim.” Commented Jones.
Morrison has moved from the pre Olympic camp in Lensbury where she has undertaken some gentle training over the past few days to accommodation closer to Hyde Park. Triathlon Ireland’s Olympic Team Manager Ken Lynch explains. “We recced the area 18 months ago and booked the accommodation and facilities almost a year ago so we were guaranteed a prime location. We’ll be staying about 5 minutes from the transition area so it’s a convenient location for Aileen and Gavin on race morning.”
With a host of women capable of making the podium there will be no letting up throughout the 1500m swim, 43km bike or 10km run.
The race can be viewed live from 8:45am on RTE 2 with race updates via @tri_ireland.