London bound triathlete Aileen Morrison lined up alongside 41 top female triathletes in the picturesque Austrian town of Kitzbuhel for her final Olympic distance race before London. Morrison, in the midst of a heavy training block was less concerned with the overall result but was looking to get some of the technical aspects of the race nailed prior to Hyde Park on August 4th.
In the early stages of the swim Morrison found the going tough in the midst of chaos of the swim start however made up some time on the second lap to exit the 1500m swim 17 seconds off the leader in 19th position.
The deficit, while only minor was enough for Morrison to miss the lead pack. The 15 up front contained many of the strong bikers while Morrison was left in a small group including Vanessa Raw, Felicity Abram and Simone Ackermann.
“We’ve been working on the swim quite a bit over the past few weeks but Aileen didn’t perform as well as she is capable of and the small margins can cost you dearly.” Commented High Performance Director Chris Jones.
Meanwhile the leaders continued to power on while Morrison’s pack didn’t have the legs to close the gap. They were eventually joined by a 3rd chase pack swelling the numbers to almost 20 athletes. The extra numbers allowed them to reel in the leaders but with a gap on 1min 28secs entering T2 they were never going to challenge for the medals.
In trademark fashion Morrison stormed out of T2 determined to pick off some of the backmarkers from the lead pack. She produced a 35min 10km run after a tough bike giving her the same run split as the eventual medallists up front and clawing her way back up to 14th overall.
Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig made it 3 victories in a row by sprinting clear of Sweden’s Lisa Norden and New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt in 3rd.
From here Morrison will move to Triathlon Ireland’s High Altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada in Spain for 3 weeks in order to put the finishing touches to her Olympic preparations.