Belfast athlete Suzie Cave grabs bronze at European Triathle Championships
Belfast athlete Suzie Cave has continued her rapid ascent in the triathle world by winning bronze at the European Championships in Madeira.
On only her third ever triathle appearance, Cave put in another superb performance to finish in third, despite competing against athletes with years of experience.
Having gotten off to a slow start in her first lap, following an surprisingly poor shoot, Cave showed great perseverance to keep battling and pulled back the gap in the following laps, eventually crossing the line third.
The triathle consists of three stages - shooting, running and swimming - and is run consecutively as opposed to as individual events.
With her incredible finish, that means she adds the bronze to the British Senior title she won last month.
Not only that, but Cave stayed on in Madeira to compete in the Laser Run City Tour being held the next day - which she won!
Cave's achievements are made all the more impressive in that she only took up the sport at the start of the year after a highly successful modern pentathlon career.
"I knew the competition level would be majorly raised, so I was approaching them with the attitude that they would be good experience for me and I did not have any expectations," says Cave.
"I went with the attitude to just to do my own race and enjoy being there, that anything after that would be a bonus. I knew with this only being the third time I had done triathle, I really couldn’t expect much against the pros.
"To medal at this event was one of the biggest surprises I have had in my life. I knew I was strong at the British level but I had never done an international before to know where I might lie. I’m still in shock!"
Despite her triathle success, Cave is still preparing and training for the modern pentathlon and also the laser run - which is only shooting and running - while also balancing a job as a researcher at Stormont.
The big one is the Triathle World Championships in Tampa, Florida in October, which is the aim right now, but the Belfast ace admits she has a few big decisions to make coming up.
"Over the next few months I will have to chat with my coaches David Graham (Trinetic) and Jason Ratcliff (Lagan Valley Athletics Club) and make a decision on the event I want to focus on the most," acknowledges Cave.
"I will continue training all five events, but I think my main aim will be the Triathle Worlds in October in Florida.
"Now that I've had a taste of open water swimming, it's time to brave the NI waters so I can perfect my technique and become more efficient at sighting and swimming round buoys, although the water here will be a far cry off the crystal clear warm waters of Madeira!
"I will also be back in the gym building on my strength again with John Megaghey (Bangor Aurora), it's an important part of my training which I have to not overdo during competition.
"But I do have John from Outpost Fitness (sports massage) and Nieves Lopez (physio) keeping me right between sessions.
"I'm also lucky to have my nutritionist Aaron Finn from Conscious Performance teaching me how to fuel myself correctly for training and competitions - this has made such a difference to me this year."
Belfast Telegraph Digital