Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – September 2019

Hi Guys,

Another huge month of racing for the Team this month as you will see below so well done to all of you. We’ve finally gotten down to the business end of the triathlon season, which culminates with 2 Triathlon World Championships before the season finale in Kona, Hawaii in October. Coach will be heading out the Big Island for 2 weeks from the 2nd October with our girl Vicki Hill (The Pocket Rocket) in search of sun, fun and a little race called the Ironman World Championships. So all of you that want to follow this journey check out my instagram account at Team Nagi Coaching, I’ll be firing this up once again with daily video clips and images of the whole experience. I’m sure Vicki will be posting too so if you don’t already follow her account is vickihill3530.

This month’s addition is given over to all those amazing athletes who have reached the top of their game and qualified to race for their country at the Triathlon World Championships in Lausanne Switzerland just a few weeks ago. We had no fewer than 6 athletes racing there on of the most iconic courses on the triathlon racing calendar. Make no bones this is one of the toughest courses out there and has formed the backdrop of many great World Championship races over the years.

One thing is for sure when you have a World Championship race in Europe on this course it is likely to attract the best of the best making the standard extremely high for age group racing. By my own count I saw that there were several former professional athletes now racing at age group level, some of these former Olympians & pro Tour De France cyclists. I’m proud to say our guys and girls more than held their own and put in some brilliant performances so well done to all of you.

I’m going to let them do the talking this month so pleases enjoy their race experiences and insights below.

ITU Triathlon World Championships – Olympic (Lausanne/ Switzerland) 

  • Jeremy Cole (Team GB)
  • Splits: 31:24 swim / 1:14:32 bike/ 48:52 run
  • Total Time: 2:39:54
  • 16th/74 – 60-64 category

Tell us about your race experience, how did it go?

Lausanne as a race venue is special (although not as special as Kitzbuhel). Swiss efficiency pervades the race experience alongside the fabulous lakeside location. We watched the elite race on the Saturday which adds to the excitement of the event. The race went smoothly – no dramas! The only puzzling aspect was that there were no Brits racing around me until one Brit emerged ahead of me on the run. I assumed (wrongly) that they were all ahead of me!

What elements of your race were you pleased with but what would you do differently next time?

My main drama was before the race. I had failed to check I had picked up all the kit from registration. So on the night before the race I realised I did not have my blue colour coded swim hat. Panic time!! I knew I would not be able to swim without it. I then worked out that there was one wave ahead of me with blue hats that would finish their swim before I had to leave transition. Sadly that plan did fail as the International officials did not let me near the discarded blue hats. Eventually I discovered some spare hats at the swim start line. Phew! Moral of the story – check you have everything in the bag at registration.

Best piece of advice for racing at this level ?

Find out as early as possible the course layout and train accordingly. The run in Lausanne involved one section of stairs!

What’s Next ? 

A few beers denied to me over the summer. And then start preparation for the Engadine ski marathon.

  • Louise Bracken-Smith (Team Ireland)
  • Splits: 33:10 swim / 1:17:44 bike/ 56:36 run
  • Total Time: 2:52:35
  • 55th/93 – 45-49 category



Tell us about your race experience, how did it go?

Having qualified for this race I had decided to really enjoy the experience, soak up the amazing atmosphere and cherish every minute of being on the course!
The logistics of the hotel meant for a super early start by train but we did get there in good time. There was a superb atmosphere before the race, so many people about to experience the much talked about course.
With all the usual nerves/ excitement about the race I could not believe it when the count down  to the start got closer I started to feel full and a little sick!!

Finally we were off, annoyingly the wind had just picked up and there was chop on the lake which had been pancake flat. I found my rhythm and enjoyed swimming with the ladies from Australia and Mexico. I sensed it was taking me longer than I had hoped but I kept on pushing an finally had the exit in sight.

After the long transition, it was onto the bike. As I was settling in, along came the first sharp hill followed by a nice descent. Another sharp hill followed by a longer drag I knew that we were heading for the undulating section out of town which I had been on a few times. All of which I had trained and was ready for. Then the sickness started to kick in and I found myself gagging on the bike, whilst it was time for a gel I really did not think it was a good idea and at this point I was not sure if I would make it around the course

I got myself together and focused on the course, before I knew the second lap was complete.

On to the run, I still had the same gel in my hand and I thought gosh this has been slow let’s try to make up for it on the run!! So off I went and soon we faced a short sharp hill, similar to those we had done in training. I could not really understand why I could not attack them like I was able to in training and thought the best plan was to just get up and recover on the downhill. Beautiful course, brutal at the same time. Having completed lap one I knew I was not in great shape I felt I was slowing down and people were overtaking. I had not realised at the time that I had not actually taken on any gels/ energy.

So I plodded along and was chuffed to get to the finish line.  Typical race brain it only struck me later that my lack of nutrition had meant I had bonked on the run.

Not sure what I should have done, feeling sick is just unlucky but I did manage to smile and take in the amazing atmosphere.

What elements of your race were you pleased with but what would you do differently next time?

I was pleased with the swim and bike in the end – not so proud of my run where it all caught up with me.

In future I would aim to get to a race a few days in advance of start rather than last minute which I typically do to maximise my time and work and with my family.

Maybe I will also take this winter to work on the nutrition plan and work out what causes my gastric issues !!

Best piece of advice for racing at this level ?

Enjoy it!!

What’s Next ? 

Still trying to work out what is next, torn between focusing on olympic distance and going longer rather than trying to do both.

Maybe finding races that suit me rather than going for races that my buddies are doing!!

Ultimate goal is to continue to improve and embrace the journey!!

  • Allon Hoskin (Team GB)
  • Splits: 31:44 swim / 1:12:02 bike/ 43:56 run
  • Total Time: 2:32:46
  • 48th/132 – 50-54 category



Tell us about your race experience, how did it go?

As this was my first time racing an international event the race experience started the night before flying out and the excitement just built from there. Everything felt new and exciting right up till the gun. From that point it felt familiar again and the race was on! The course was challenging and my inexperience at dealing with the build-up (i.e. the sleepless night before) meant that by the finish the tank was empty but I loved every minute.

What elements of your race were you pleased with but what would you do differently next time?

Being a non-wetsuit swim and with water conditions being surprisingly rough compared to the mill-pond reckie a couple of days before the first leg was a real leveller. I could feel that I was doing OK in the field and not dropping back too far so for me the swim was enjoyable. I also enjoyed going up the big hills on the bike as this suited my training terrain in N. Wales. The bike however was the leg that I felt I was least pleased with performance wise given the amount of training I thought I had done in preparation. It was clear from the race that to do well at this level you have to be able to hit the front of the group and stay there. Once you get caught and have to start dropping back to avoid being in the draft zone you can quickly end up a few hundred meters back and lose valuable time clawing back up the field.

Best piece of advice for racing at this level ?

Any weaknesses will be amplified at this level. Train hard and train well….. you get out what you put in.

What’s Next ? 

I have enjoyed my racing and training this year and wearing the GB vest ticked a long standing ambition and goal. It would be great to compete in another international event so I will be looking closely at the 2020 qualifying calendar with an eye on an event in 2021.

  • Sue Kumleben (Team USA)
  • Splits: 30:23 swim / 1:21:40 bike/ 52:39 run
  • Total Time: 2:49:41
  • 17th/67 – 55-59 category



Tell us about your race experience, how did it go?

Big races are big fun, especially if the Mexican Team is in attendance. There is a vibe and energy that is infectious.  As for the race itself – Lausanne is a very hilly course. Luckily what goes up does come down. On the bike, the three main climbs were front loaded so that helped (Our Team UK coach even recommended walking the steepest run section). But what helped most was to know that something would go wrong – it always does. It’s how you deal with that inevitability that matters. What went ‘wrong’ this time was that it was so warm wetsuits were banned. I never do the swim familiarization option but realised this would be key – and so it proved. So much so that I enjoyed the swim more than usual. The other thing that went wrong was a hamstring tear.  Not much could be done for that except shorten my stride, grimace, and grind out the run.

What elements of your race were you pleased with but what would you do differently next time?

Pleased with the swim as I looked for drafting opportunities and wasn’t shy in taking them. Very pleased with my transitions. I’ve worked hard on being smart in those and it really pays off (1st in the world in T1, she says, bragging). I need to practice re-racking but otherwise my practice paid off.  What I’d do differently next time is re-introduce the once weekly strength/core training and the bi-monthly massage. I’d let these fall off my schedule and that’s what led to the injury. Rookie mistake!

Best piece of advice for racing at this level ?

I’d probably say spend more time on transition practice.  You can save 30 seconds here so much more easily than you can take time off your run or swim. Ohh, and very important, appreciate your support team.

What’s Next ? 

The year I age up, World’s are in Bermuda…might have to try and qualify for that.

ITU Triathlon World Championships – Sprint (Lausanne/ Switzerland)

  • Louise Hutchinson (Team GB)
  • Splits: 16:22 swim / 40:07 bike/ 26:23 run
  • Total Time: 1:28:21
  • 17th/54 – 60-64 category


Tell us about your race experience, how did it go?

I had a great race.  Lausanne is a stunning venue with the lake glistening in the sunshine and the mountains rising up in the distance beyond and the Swiss had designed a tough and technical course.  This was my eighth time representing GB in an international race and one of the best.  I think over the years I have learnt what works for me in the preparation and build up to the race and this means hopefully I can deliver my best self on the day.

What elements of your race were you pleased with but what would you do differently next time?

I particularly enjoyed the swim.  It was my first serious race which was non wetsuit.  The lake was warm and calm on race day and I felt strong and comfortable.  I kept my breathing under control and managed to push on.  This, I am sure, will surprise coach as in training, I am loathe to get rid of my buoyancy pants and am usually to be seen with a pull buoy glued between my legs.

The bike course was hard for me as I am not particularly good on hills.  Looking back, I wonder if I could have stood up for longer and pushed harder up them but then this might have negatively impacted the run…I enjoyed the steep descents and managed to navigate the 90 degree turn at the bottom of one without any mishaps.

I was neither pleased nor unhappy with my run.  It was testing with steep hills and I just concentrated on getting it done and keeping my focus until the end.

My transitions were a bit disappointing as I’m usually comparatively faster than many of my competitors.  I wasted precious seconds hopping about around trying to get my running shoes on  (I’ve switched shoes since a foot injury and these new shoes are definitely a hassle to get on quickly so I would look to try and find a different race shoe next time).  Also, since the foot injury, running barefoot is difficult and these big races always have a huge transition so this didn’t help me.  Whether I can try to strengthen my foot to run better without shoes I don’t know but is something I could try and improve.

Best piece of advice for racing at this level ?

Enjoy it!  Since I am not usually in contention for a medal, I feel that the hard work has already happened in qualifying to get to the championships.  When I get there, I just want to make sure I am the best version of myself to have a great race.  That means keeping calm, being well prepared, allowing plenty of time to get everything done in the days beforehand, resting enough, doing recces of all three disciplines so you know exactly what is coming and being cognisant of every aspect of the whole experience so you can enjoy it to the full.

What’s Next ? 

Despite saying this would be my last international race, I have qualified for the Euros in Malmo next year and the Worlds in Edmonton so I am still considering whether to go for either or both of them in 2020.  I’m also toying with the idea of doing a SwimRun.  For now, I am going to do some longer (slower) runs over the winter and some xc with my running club after a week’s Swimtrek holiday in Crete at the end of the month.

  • Robert Hutchinson (Team GB)
  • Splits: 16:07 swim / 35:30 bike/ 26:31 run
  • Total Time: 1:23:07
  • 44th/94 – 60-64 category



Tell us about your race experience, how did it go?

The experience was overwhelmingly positive and unlikely to be beaten in any other sporting sense in my lifetime. The place is wonderful (I lived near there for 3 years when I was younger), the course was brilliant and the lake is beautiful to swim in. On top of which the sun shone.

All told, I think I did my best, which is all you can ask for. I was happy with the top half (second quartile) result 44/94 even though I clearly benefitted by being new into my age group. Nevertheless, there still seem to be quite a few old guys around who can run 20/21m 5Ks so I do think the field was strong and I feel I had to work hard for the result I got.

It was my first serious race which was no wet suit and I think I did ok in the swim despite this, although I would probably have been slightly lower in the water than usual. (See below.)

What elements of your race were you pleased with but what would you do differently next time?

This was my 3rd world’s and 6th time in GB kit. That said, I was more concerned than in previous races about a possible DNF or DQ, most likely because in my mind this Swiss race would likely be a climax to my 8 years of triathloning and I really didn’t want it to have a damp squib ending. This thought affected my race strategy a tiny bit, most particularly on the swim where I feel I could have gone a little bit harder, especially in the second third. I have learnt to stay quite calm in the water in recent years (thanks to Julian) and tap out reasonable times on a nice steady 3 stoke breath. But in this race I was down to 2 stroke for the first half and I was obviously a little more anxious than usual until I settled and to counter this I took the power down by a tiny bit. I had a good sprint finish though and came out 31st.

The bike run was hilly with one especially fast descent and 90 degree bend at the bottom. I absolutely loved the bike race. I had practiced hills and felt very comfortable with my handling on this swinging course. I was 28th on the bike.

Both transitions were crisp and punchy.

The run was always going to be my weak area but the course through the parks was great, I did my best and by then I knew the DNF/DQ outcome was no longer a concern and I went about it with an inwardly jolly though outwardly grimacing swagger, while dropping about 14 places.

All things considered, I don’t think I would race it differently with the possible exception of an earlier push in the swim. The days of preparation were also well executed in that we always gave ourselves plenty of time for the journey, registration, course familiarisation etc thus leaving us with time to put our legs up in the hotel a bit too. So the 3 days before were nice and calm. It always amazes me how people leave a lot of things to the last minute.

Best piece of advice for racing at this level ?

The best advice I can give is contained in the above. Obviously it assumes the athlete’s training has gone well and that he/she has no injuries etc. But coming up to the race itself, give oneself time to be calm with the admin and final preparations. Being calm in the water (as Julian has always stressed) sets you up mentally very well for the rest of the race. It brings a benefit out of proportion to its impact on the swim alone ie it carries across somehow to the other disciplines – as does a bad swim in the opposite negative sense.

What’s Next ? 

I am not sure that any future international races will match this one for me. I will probably get roll down for Edmonton after 3rd in Cardiff but I went there before and don’t really care to go back. And because of the intricacies of the system, despite finishing 3rd in Eton for Malmo, I find myself now in first place just outside roll down. So neither holds great appeal. I shall have to find some interesting swims to do or perhaps some cycling events. I am open to ideas.

Team Race News

Ironman Wales 

  • Jim Butler
  • Splits: 1:12:58  swim / 5:45:46 bike/ 4:18:42 run
  • Total Time: 11:37:09
  • 45-49 category
  • Next up: The end of the beginning…
Ironman Lanzarote

Huge congrats Jim on a superb first Ironman performance. To finish inside the top 10% of your age group as you transition from the ultra-distance running world shows great potential.



Ironman Italy 

  • Chris O’Neill
  • Splits: 1:09:47 swim / 5:43:33 bike / 5:06:04 run
  • Total Time: 12:14:40
  • 50-54 category
  • Next up: 
Ironman Vichy 2020

Chris was so unlucky in the build up, with some of his best training to date behind him he managed to pick up a nasty chest infection 2 weeks before the race. He then toughed it out on race day despite being far from his best. A gutsy effort never the less and so good to see him not just finish but finish well.


Challenge Almere Half Ironman 

  • Remi Fackeure 
  • Splits: 32:33 swim / 2:23:15 bike/ 1:33:16 run
  • Total Time: 4:37:11
  • 35-39 category
  • Next up: A box of fine French chocolates & copious amounts of fine French wine 

Our man from France bowed out in typical French style just missing out on a top 10 finish. This was a stunning personal best performance from Remi on the back one of his best years as an evolving athlete. Tres bon mon ami!


Zell Am See 70.3 (Austria)

  • Terry Rodham 
  • Splits: 32:35 swim / 2:34:26 bike/ 1:54:44 run
  • Total Time: 5:10:19
  • 45-49 category
  • Next up: Ironman Barcelona

This was a blinder of a performance from our Tel. A speedy swim followed by a stunning bike time on an incredibly tough bike course. Just the confidence booster needed ahead of Ironman Barcelona next month.


The Outlaw X (Middle Distance)

  • Rod Hamilton
  • Splits: 34:28 swim / 2:50:49 bike/ 1:49:35 run
  • Total Time: 5:24:49
  • 50-54 category
  • Next up: A dirty KFC

Maybe not the race performance Rod was looking for his season finale but still a very good effort after a very tough 2019. After a nice long end of season rest he will be all guns blazing again for 2020.


Weymouth 70.3

  • JJ
  • Splits: 16:47 swim / 2:51:21 bike/ 2:00:35 run
  • Total Time: 5:15:49
  • 45-49 category
  • Next up: “TOTAL BREAK TIME!!!” (Apparently)

Yet again Weymouth lived up to it’s reputation for bad weather conditions ! A shortened swim due followed by a wind and rain swept bike and then knee issues on the run all came together to create the perfect storm for JJ. With a bit of luck and learning from this year it will be all to play for again in 2020.


  • Mark Nicol
  • Splits: 17:21 swim / 2:55:00 bike/ 1:58:59 run
  • Total Time: 5:24:29
  • 45-49 category
  • Next up: Sub 2.20 Olympic 2020 

Suffering from man-flu the week before the race I asked Mark what he’d be happy with? Sub 6 was his reply, great work.


Woburn Abbey Olympic Triathlon

  • Louise Scott
  • Splits:  26:48 swim / 1:15:20 bike/ 50:49 run
  • Total Time: 2:38:06
  • 1st in 40-44 category
  • Next up: there’s been whispers of a 70.3…

Another race, another win and when she wasn’t throwing her toys out of the pram on the bike she managed to also finish her first Olympic distance! What a breakthrough season, much more to come from this lady (big up to hubby Dave too).


  • David Magyar
  • Splits:  26:17 swim / 1:26:38 bike/ 50:26 run
  • Total Time: 2:46:46
  • 1st in 50-54 category
  • Next up: Cardiff Half Marathon 

Now that’s what I call finishing a tri season on top! Huge congrats DM on taking a fine win with your best performance of the year.



Brighton & Hove Olympic 

  • Helen Burton
  • Splits:  41:13 swim / 1:31:55 bike/ 1:25:54 run
  • Total Time: 3:44:22
  • 3rd in 65-69 category
  • Next up: Hibernation, this gal needs some rest

After all long season this race proved just one step too far for H, I think the tank was emptied a few weeks before and there was just nothing left for one more big performance. Rest safe on the knowledge that you had a terrific season up this point and should now enjoy some much-deserved rest.

Breca swim- run (Jersey)

  • Louise Bracken-Smith
  • Total Time: 3:34:39
  • 3rd female duo overall
  • Next up: A bit of Lou time, 4 week break for Coach lol

After what has been a really tough season full of podiums combined with some incredibly hard race experiences Lou managed to pull a superb performance out of the bag in her season finale, great work Lou!



Channel Relay

  • Mark Critchlow
  • Total Time: 14:53
  • Next up: Sun, sea & sand…Lanzarote style 

Huge congrats to Mark for completing yet another channel swim as part of a 4 team relay. After some pretty awful health issues earlier in the year where nothing seemed possible he managed to turn his year around with a superb swim. The courage and resilience of this man knows no bounds.




Book Recommendation

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 09.02.44

Sevens Heaven: The beautiful chaos of Fiji’s Olympic dream by Ben Ryan

Winner of the Daily Telegraph 2019 Sports Book of the Year 

With the rugby world cup kicking off this month I thought I’d recommend this brilliant book by Ben Ryan. Ben is an English rugby coach who took the chance of a lifetime when he was offered the job of coaching the legendary Fijian sevens rugby team. Their goal was Olympic glory but this story is so much more than that. This is a book about an extraordinary journey through life and sport that will motivate and inspire you. It will also open up a whole new world to you of life & culture in another country and of a coach who decided to grasp a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse himself in it.

Team Nagi out & about


The creature from the deep is officially back in training…watch out for ‘The Porcupine’ 2020!


I’m pretty sure these Team Nagi tough ladies were only in the pool about 9 hours earlier…can only be some big event on the swim horizon!


It’s happening !…Men at work


Twice in 2 weeks!





The boys went in search of ‘freespeed’ at The Boardman Centre this week, between them over 50 watts were saved with positional and kit changes!


This girl could give Lionel Sanders a run for his money! Woman of many talents that Ellie Bishop


Is it a bird, is it a plane…