Thursday night at the ITU teams race in Nottingham was a very special night for me personally, and for Trisutto. Representing Switzerland was Nicola Spirig and her apprentice Julie Derron – for the very first time together on the same Swiss team. It has been a journey that those in our squad have watched with great interest.
The development of Julie to be a real contender followed a very different path from what federations are doing around the world today. Rather than separating the junior athletes from the seniors, and training in separate groups based on age, we followed the well tested Australian way of the 1990’s. A way that Australia has since abandoned, along with their results and success in recent times.
A wonderful team race in Nottingham for the Swiss. Photo Credit: ITU Media
Back in the 90’s my junior athletes were nurtured by the seniors, and whenever possible they trained along side them, clearly showing the pathway to the top of the sport, and what it took on a daily basis. We have followed this very same model with Julie, with the Olympic champ not only sponsoring her early on, but then supporting her by sharing her training – all be it in a very modified version. However each season has seen Julie take a step closer in training load to that of her mentor.
Science plays no part. Humanization plays a massive role.
We do what we can in training, albeit slower. Then we rest till we recover, before once again getting on the ‘Nicola Train’ again. When tired we stop and take a break. When really tired we take a rest day. This has been the modus operandi for the past 3 years. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. This season has seen Julie make a major break through to represent her country at senior level. To see both her and Nicola in the same team was a special moment for myself, coach Susie, and Trisutto.
This is an un-finished journey as ‘The Champ’ showed the young ones on Thursday evening. That she is going to be a force to recon with, no matter how many children she has. Taking the team from 12th to 6th in a blistering leg in her first competition of the season. While we look to the future of an Olympic start in 2024 for Julie, it is now obvious that Nicola will be looking to gain her 5th Olympic selection. Julie now needs to work towards 2019, to finish her apprenticeship and become a legitimate Olympic hopeful.
I personally want to thank Nicola for her mentorship. From now on, the pair will fight for the same goal, on an equal footing – both legitimate contenders.
From all of us at Trisutto we wish that you both continue to represent your country for many years to come. Thursday was a magic moment for all of us.