A week in the life of a Triathlon Technical Official…

Written by Zena Coffey on . Posted in Race report

Race report: Sue Scott

A week in the life of a Triathlon Technical Official at the Grand Final of the ITU World Triathlon Championships, Gold Coast.

I arrived in anticipation on the Gold Coast Sunday afternoon, prepared for a busy and challenging week. The week started on Monday 10th September for the Level 1 ITU course held at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre where the Commonwealth Games Swimming Events had been held, just a couple of months before. The course was attended by 18 other officials and was led by Jacqui Kenny (QLD) and Frank Stapleton (a familiar face). It was great having this course in the lead up to the GF, as what we were experiencing was a course in action. The second day, we as a group Technical Officials, attended the AG race briefing delivered by Jacqui to the Team Managers of the 46 participating nations. The Senior Technical Team were also in attendance to address and answer any questions. The ITU course finished at 1 pm. Most of us, then booked into the provided accommodation, ideally located right next door to the race site.

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Wednesday 12th September started promptly at 7.30 am with a meeting of all the other 70+ Technical Officials, and receiving our uniform and radios. We soon broke into our designated groups. I was an Assistant Swim Official along with my two colleagues Andy (NSW) and Tee (Malaysia). Chief Swim Official was Michael Haarsma with Technical Delegate Ross Capill (NZ). There were swim course familiarisations and in the afternoon the Open Aquathlon where I took to the water on the back of a Jet ski. 

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Thursday 13th September, the same pattern continued with swim familiarisations and in the afternoon the Sprint distance Age groups raced where everything went to plan until one individual in the 2nd last wave decided to cut the course but remedied their fault and went back to swim around the 1st buoy. Thursday night was spent with some fellow Technical Officials at the GC Conference Centre with the Australian Age groupers and Australian Team who weren’t racing in the coming days and VIP’s of Triathlon Australia for the Champion’s Dinner compered by Brooke Hanson and her father. A lovely speech was made by one of the Emma’s, the first Emma = Emma Carney and her Triathlon journey. Thanks to TriWA and fellow Technical Officials, I was nominated and was the recipient of the Rob George Award. Thanks also to those that I have met interstate as well as to Triathlon Australia for continued support and professional development of the Technical program.

Friday 14th September-Sunday 16th September 2018 were jam packed with swim familiarisations, warm ups, taking of water temperatures and then races where I was designated Boat 2. Being a swim official on a boat, one needs to continually observe behaviour of athletes in the water at the same time as recording any irregularities as when the penalty is called, one needs to provide evidence of this and the calling needs to be done promptly as the penalty needs to be served in T1. Unfortunately a southerly wind really blew up on the Sunday afternoon for the Men’s Elite race, making for challenging conditions for the athletes as well as the Technical Officials on the boats. We thankfully had volunteer Technical Officials to assist with the recordings with the Women’s and Men’s Elite races along with the helicopter above. Sunday late afternoon, all was done and dusted and a week’s hard work, (for some after a year of preparation) ended with the Technical Official’s debriefing and then a group photo on the stage. What an event, what a week and I would do it all over again if given a chance! Being a Technical Official is always being part of a team and what a team it was. The backing of the STT on the calls I did make, were second to none. Every Technical Official in their own role allocation contributed to the absolute success of the Gold Coast Grand Final 2018.

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If you have any interest or wonder what it takes to become a Triathlon Technical Official, don’t hesitate to contact your local State office or go to the Triathlon Australia Website. Here in WA on the 20th October 2018 a Level 1 TO course is being run. Please get in contact with the TriWA office.