Defending women’s champion Gwen Jorgensen is expecting stiff competition from a high-quality field when she attempts to defend her Australia Day Aquathon title this weekend.
Training in Falls Creek to start the season with many of her rivals, the Wollongong-based American Olympian knows back-to-back successes will be no walk in the park.
‘‘It was a great field last year and this year I think it is going to be some amazing athletes as well,’’ she said.
‘‘There are a lot of Australians who are fit and ready to go and then you have the Canadians as well. There are a lot of people who will bring up the competition.’’
‘‘Long Aqua’’ competitors will engage in a 7-kilometre run and 900-metre swim in Belmore Basin, which has been given the OK for use by organisers after a sewage leak a fortnight ago.
Canada’s Ellen Pennock and Sarah Ann Brault, Chile’s Barbara Riveros and South Africa’s Anel Radford, as well as a list of Australian stars, will join Jorgensen in the women’s field.
As one of the first events in 2014, many of the professionals intend using the race to launch their professional season.
‘‘It is great way to start the season,’’ Jorgensen said.
‘‘I am super excited to compete. It is an event that all of us in the Wollongong Wizards look forward to competing in, it is a great day.
‘‘It is something that I have never experienced, obviously in America there is 4th of July but here in Australia it is awesome to see everyone out so early cheering on the aquathon.’’
Jorgensen made the move to Australia last season to train full-time with the Wollongong Wizards club and coach Jamie Turner.
After meeting Turner before a Sydney World Triathlon series race, the 27-year-old opted to make the move Down Under and hasn’t looked back since.
‘‘I came and did a few training sessions with Jamie and I really enjoyed his philosophy and the group, how everyone got along,’’ Jorgensen said.
‘‘It wasn’t too competitive, it was just a great group to train with. I asked to join the training group and I spent the whole last year with the Wollongong Wizards and that is the plan for the next few years.’’