Katrina Matthews: “So much to learn about triathlon swim, but first time I’ve made progress”

(Photo: James Mitchell)

“This weekend’s swim I went hard – and actually “fast” – to start, able to glimpse Lucy Buckingham’s feet for about 100 meters and then settled into pace with Anne (Haug, ed.), deciding to sit on her feet rather than swim side by side for most of it. I’ve so much to learn about the triathlon swim, but I feel this is the first time I’ve made physical and tactical progress!” Katrina Matthews received a lot of attention for the great bike and run leg she pulled off at last weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote, but it was maybe that first discipline – the swim – that she feels most proud of.

The last few months, Matthews worked hard to try to take her swimming to the next level. Seeing that she was able to stay with Buckingham and Jessica Learmonth, both incredibly strong swimmers, for a little and that she didn’t exit the water too far down from the leading ladies (3 minutes), proves she’s on the right track. “The last few months I’ve had the privilege of training with the British Triathlon Bath Uni Performance Squad”, she explains. “I’ve committed to making as many sessions as I can that fit with my other training commitments.”

And that means she spends many hours in the water. “I set 80 km as a monthly target in November, and I’ve been exceeding it every month”, Matthews says about her swim volume. “Blair Cartmell (her coach, ed.) has really changed my mentality on 5000-meter swim sets. I actually find it ‘easy’ to get through them and sometimes even enjoy them on my own. My swim has noticeably improved, with nearly double the volume I used to do last year. I’m finding satisfaction in finishing a session and having the stroke composure to work until the last length, not just start counting and doubting myself after just 1500 meters.”