Jodie Swallow and Van Berkel victorious at Ironman Asia-Pacific Championships
Britain’s Jodie Swallow and Australia’s Tim Van Berkel battled through a tough, talented field before they could claim top honours at the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns, Australia.
Jodie Swallow worked hard to push out to a lead of over 20 minutes following a record bike leg on a wet and humid day. Ultimately, she had to hold on as the wheels began to wobble, easing her way to the victory in 9:06:17 by six minutes and 32 seconds.
“I was really smashed mentally, I pulled it together in the last 10km I stuck in there, I really wanted it and I managed to hold Linsey off with the fast charge that she had but wow she really made me work hard,” says Swallow.
Meanwhile Tim Van Berkel played a waiting game, and when the opportunity presented itself, he sliced his way through on the back of a 2:46 marathon run to win in 8:15:02, just two seconds inside the course record of compatriot David Dellow, who was runner up.
“It feels great to finally get a win and for it to be an Asia-Pacific Championship I am absolutely stoked,” says van Van Berkel.
“It feels awesome. I worked so hard for this race and to finally put all that work to use and come in with a win, I’m just soaking it in. Against a world class field, there were some fit guys in there, and I was really hurting on that bike and I knew I had some work to do so I just put my head down and chipped away at it,” added Van Berkel.
Van Berkel no longer the bridesmaid
Van Berkel has been runner-up twice at Cairns in 2013 and 2014, runner up at IRONMAN Australia in 2012, runner-up at the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne in 2015, and again runner-up earlier this year in the IRONMAN African Championship.
“Finally. I am over the moon. I really can’t believe it. I am lost for words. So many second places and to finally get a win and get an Asia-Pacific title, I am really stoked,” says Van Berkel.
He was a minute back in 10th place out of the water, where pre-race favourite Luke McKenzie led an Australian blitz as the sea swells caused some issues with the likes of American’s Jordan Rapp and Matt Hanson who were a distant nine minutes back.
McKenzie, the two-time winner in Cairns, pushed the pace on the way back into the head winds before a puncture 18kms from T2 wrecked his hopes, losing 10 minutes to Fettell, and former Olympic rower and professional cyclist Cameron Wurf, in his professional debut.
When McKenzie faded on the marathon, Van Berkel was the best to force his way to the front followed by Dellow and the 2012 World Champion Pete Jacobs. Dellow withstood some cramps to finish second and Jacobs claimed his first podium in several years in an all-Australian podium.
Everyone follows the Swallow
The British athlete in Jodie Swallow is a former ITU Olympic star, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion in 2010 and a former ITU World Long Distance winner. The 34-year-old has enjoyed two IRONMAN wins and was fourth in Hawaii two years ago.
“I couldn’t believe how much support there was out on the bike, it wasn’t the most perfect day for spectators so for all the people to make the effort to come out was great. They see sport as something inspiring and I’m just glad to be a part of it and I’ so glad I get to do it as a job,” says Swallow.
She countered the challenging conditions to lead out of the water by more than three minutes to Australian Rebekah Keat before setting about to demolish the women’s field with a whopping bike record of 4:50.39 that saw her 13th overall at T2.
At the halfway mark, Swallow began to teeter over the closing laps, holding on eventually and collapsing across the line in 9:06.17.
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|1||Tim Van Berkel||AUS||0:47:25||4:36:57||2:46:31||8:15:02|