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Stage set for international triathlon

Saturday 6 May 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Sports, Triathlon

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Stage set for international triathlon
CITC Boiler Swim winner Olivia Ritchie receives her prize from Mike Carr. TRIATHLON/ 230505130

The Cook Islands Triathlon Festival week got off to a positive start with the CITC Boiler Swim which was held on Thursday.

A little rain at the start did not deter a field of 52 athletes from one of the highlights of the week. The conditions were actually much better than last year, it was overcast with only a little swell and consequently the times were faster.  Overall winner was overseas competitor Olivia Ritchie in a time of 12:14 minutes ahead of local Tem Strickland in second place in a time of 13:06. Third overall was local swimmer Seychelle Carter. 

It was super to see six athletes under 16 take part who all swam extremely well, all finishing in the top half of the field.

Sponsor CITC generously donated prizes for all the athletes who gathered for a pasta carbo loading dinner at The Edgewater Resort and Spa ahead of the Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon to be held today.

There will be almost 100 athletes taking part in today’s race, either completing the whole race individually or as part of a team with one or two others.

Olivia Ritchie is definitely one to watch and will no doubt be buoyed by her success in the CITC Boiler Swim. Ritchie has previously raced as an elite triathlete in New Zealand, her form on the swim was clear to see on Thursday and her strength on the run will be a great asset to her on race day. She will be facing competition from a field of 24 other women, including six local female athletes. 

Many eyes will be on Tereora College student Maya Postrzygacz who is a strong swimmer and runner and will be hoping to stay ahead of her mum and defending local ladies champion Adrianna Skurosz as well as her cousin Joanna Sobocinska. Lucy McDonald has strength on the bike and will be looking to catch those who exited the swim ahead of her. Lauren Turner will be entering the race for the first time and Maria Rolleston will also have a solid race.

A number of returning athletes will also bring their A game race on Saturday and make for a fast race in what could be cooler conditions.

In the men’s division Mike Roiguard, last year’s winner will again face stiff competition from Brent Knight who placed second overall. The re-match will be great to watch. Knight placed second in the CITC Boiler swim and will be battling hard for an overall win on Saturday. 

Roland Neururer will again be defending his first local title and looks in good form after success in the recent Tinman competition and veteran Mike Carr will also be on the start line to contend his place having put in some solid hours of training. 

Visiting athlete and former Tereora College teacher Bryn Parry will also be racing hard as will Australian Wade Fitzgerald, who is a strong marathon runner and will be competing here in Rarotonga for the first time. Another name to watch will be Carl Ritchie who placed third in Thursday’s swim and is the youngest contender in the men’s field.

A number of visiting athletes registered for the event in 2020 however due to successive years of border closures those from Australia have had to defer for three years in a row, making the 2023 Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon more special for them. A very warm kia orana is extended to them as well as all the visiting athletes.

Cook Islands Triathlon extends its humble thanks to the Raina Family for the use of their land, to their very generous sponsors Air New Zealand, The Edgewater Resort and Spa, BSP, Island Car and Bike Hire, Vaima Water, The Bond Store, CITC, Ride Rarotonga, Cook Islands Tourism and to all the volunteers and marshals who give their time to assist in so many ways to make this event happen.

  • Cook Islands Triathlon

Boiler swim:  Female: Olivia Ritchie NZL 12:14 minutes, Seychelle Carter COK 13:16 mins, Maya Postrzygacz 13:50 minutes; Male: Tem Strickland COK 13:06 minutes, Brent Knight NZL 13:40 minutes, Carl Ritchie NZL 13:45 minutes