“I THINK the pressure just got to me and I cracked.”
This was the blatantly honest admission from Bathurst triathlete Tamsyn Moana-Veale after she placed 30th in Sunday’s junior women’s International Triathlon Union World Championships Grand Final in Auckland.
One of three Australian representatives in the event, Moana-Veale had been looking for a strong result in what was her last chance to race in the junior age category.
The former Kinross Wolaroi School student was among the first in her field to complete the 750-metre swim and she gained a handful of seconds on some of that leading pack with a good transition, but from there it went wrong.
Moana-Veale could not find the power from her legs she needed on the tight, technical 20-kilometre cycle leg and she lost contact with the leaders.
Her final run leg was solid, but by then she had lost too much time.
The young talent was bitterly disappointed given she was in good physical condition for the race and a large contingent of friends and family had come to cheer her on.
“It was really good to see all my family, but I had really hoped that I would get a better result,” Moana-Veale said.
“I’ve had a really good year. I had an injury a couple of months ago that ended my overseas season early, but I had recovered well and coming into this event my fitness was good, I was very happy with where I was at.
“But in the last few weeks leading up to this when I was talking to my coach, I was not in a good frame of mind. I was physically fit but mentally I wasn’t there.
“It is one of the big areas that has been letting me down ... I know it is one of my main weaknesses.
“A lot of us who had been expected to do well didn’t, I think a lot of us just cracked under the pressure.”
When speaking to her parents two days out from the event Moana-Veale seemed calm, but race day was a different story.
Moana-Veale, conditioned by the tough physical nature of swim legs in Europe, handled the opening leg well as she covered the swim in nine minutes, 59 seconds.
In contrast eventual victor Fumika Matsumoto, of Japan, took 10.29 to complete the same distance.
A 1.13 transition had Moana-Veale among the leaders as she headed off on the cycle leg, competitors faced with a tight and at times hilly street circuit.
The cycling leg has been a big improvement for the Bathurst product in recent seasons, but this time she was unable to show it.
She took 38.39 to cover the distance and lost around five minutes on the leaders - a pack of 16 who were out in front at the halfway mark of the cycle.
“I had a good swim then I just had nothing on the bike, I am not sure what happened,” Moana-Veale said.
“I didn’t have any power in my legs. I just struggled, I am really, really disappointed because I felt good coming out of the swim.
“My run was okay, I think by then I was still trying to go so hard because I was behind - it is just very, very disappointing.”
Moana-Veale covered the two 2.5km circuits that made up the run leg in 19.30 for an overall time of one hour, 15 minutes, 12 seconds.
Matsumoto broke away in the final 100m of the run to become the first Japanese triathlete to win a major ITU title, clocking 1:08.33. Second belonged to France’s Leonie Periault (1:08.36) with American Tamara Gorman (1:08.39) rounding out the podium.
“Physically I am feeling fine, I am still obviously a little disappointed, but I have just got to move on,” Moana-Veale said yesterday morning.
“I have three weeks of nothing now, it is a chance to have a bit of a break.
“Next year I will move up into the under 23s, so there will be a little bit less pressure on me so hopefully I can do well.”