If you give yourself a pat on the back for getting to Spencer training a couple of times a week, then just reading this is going to exhaust you!
Inspired by her triathlete brother, a few years ago Lara set herself the goal of qualifying for the GB Age Group Triathlon Team, even though at that time she could not run a 5k and had barely touched a bike in years! Lara had swam competitively at school and university, but she thinks she rather went through the motions. “When I swam, I was there in body but not really in mind.” For example, once she forgot what event she was racing when on the blocks about to dive in. She dived in and had to stay underwater until the other swimmers surfaced and started swimming – so she could see which stroke she was meant to be doing! After university she took a break from swimming – she did not seem to be progressing and had stopped enjoying it, other than the social side.
By focusing on open water swimming, and combining the variety of three sports, she has found her swimming motivation. It is no longer just about how fast she can swim in the pool. Triathlon has enabled her to push herself beyond what she thought she was capable of, and competing allows her to explore places she might not otherwise have visited. Lara won a silver medal in her Age Group at the World Championships in Aquathlon (1000m swim- 5km run) in Denmark earlier this year, and also won silver at the England National Sprint Triathlon Championships in June, where she qualified for the European Championships in Russia next year – so she has met the aim she set herself in only three years.
Lara met Sue Swaine at the SLSC Tooting Aquathlon in 2017 and Sue convinced Lara to join Spencer. She was finding swim training alone a bit lonely, and has also benefited from Steve’s technique tips – such as eliminating that nodding head! Lara loves the social side and the motivation of being part of Spencer, as well as her cycling and athletic clubs. She loves cross country running in the winter and road cycling – especially when cake is involved. In the pool, Lara’s focus is on front crawl, but she likes mixing up training with the other strokes….except fly… and loves pyramid sets. Her bug bear is one many Spencer swimmers will be familiar with – the jet stream in Crystal Palace Pool which pushes you backwards as you try to swim to the wall for a well-deserved rest. So cruel….
However, she now loves open water swimming (provided there are no jellyfish), and she has enjoyed the trips to Shepperton lake this summer with Spencer’s strong open water contingent. Her current focus is 750m – 1500m front crawl technique and times, and she is keen to enter more open water events. Short term she is thinking about the European Aquathlon Championships in Ibiza later this year, where she is aiming to pre-qualify for racing in Romania the following year.