Top triathletes commit to aquathon

AQUATHON

International triathlon stars Aaron Royle and Gwen Jorgensen will headline a red-hot field at the upcoming Wollongong Australia Day Aquathon.

Royle booked his place at next year's Glasgow Commonwealth Games at the ITU World Championships in London in October and has since gone on to win both the Noosa and Nepean (Penrith) triathlons.

He'll face some friendly competition from training teammates Ryan Bailie and Olympian Brendan Sexton.

Defending women's champ Jorgensen will set the pace in her division but will be pushed hard by recently crowned ITU under-23s World Champion Charlotte McShane and teammates Grace Musgrove, Natalie Van Coevorden and Tamsyn Moana-Veale.

All are members of the Wollongong Wizards, a NSWIS high-performance unit that trains locally under Jamie Turner.

Turner uses the 900-metre swim and 7-kilometre run as the squad's first competitive hit-out of the new year.

"You're literally looking at some of the fastest triathletes in the world," race organiser Rob Battocchio said.

"They're in Falls Creek at the moment for a six-week training camp and then they'll kickstart their season with the aquathon.

"We're fortunate because we end up with people like Aaron Royle, who's Australia's number one triathlete at the moment, and Gwen Jorgensen, from the US, who's the world's leading triathlete."

Though the elite will attract plenty off attention, Battocchio stressed the Australia Day event, now in its 15th year, is for everyone.

"It's Australia Day and it's about us as the whole Illawarra having a go," he said.

"We've got the two kids' Aquafun races which are really about getting kids to be active and have fun combining the two.

"There's a 140-metre swim and a two-kilometre run, and we also do a 200-metre swim and two-kilomtere run.

"Then we've got the Short Aqua, which is a 400-metre swim and a three-kilometre run."

The event will conclude with a 3.5km Charity Walk for local Anglicare projects.

Event and entry details are available at www.aquathon.com.au

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