Aquathlon Nationals, Rahul Jegatheva

In early morning hours of Saturday the 6th of April 2019, at Broadwater Parklands in the Gold Coast, a 17 year old swimming and running machine from Western Australia blew away the competition in defending his National Title at Triathlon Australia's National Aquathlon Championships. In becoming the 19&Under National Champion for the 2nd year running, Rahul Jegatheva of the University of Wester Australia, sets himself up perfectly for the upcoming International Triathlon Union World Aquathlon Championships in Pontevedra, Spain on the 2nd of May 2019. And if he reaches the ultimate prize there, this newly minted 2-time National Champion, will become a 2-time World Champion!

The Aquathlon is one of the disciplines at triathlon championships comprising of the swim and run elements and the distances at the Nationals were a 750m swim and a 5km run. The race itself saw athletes of all ages line up on the shores for the dash into the waters, with winners of the respective age groups being crowned National Champions.

Rahul picked up the gold in the 19&U a minute and a half ahead of New Zealander Callum Hancock, but it was a brilliant battle in the overall, where he was beaten into 2nd by multiple times national surf champion and Pro Ironman, Isak Costello of Queensland. Isak shot out ahead of the pack at the start of the swim, with Rahul working hard in the water to haul him back the pair making a break from the rest of the field. At the end of the swim the gap between 1st and 2nd overall was 1 second. In the first kilometer, Rahul moved ahead of Isak, but the Redhead SLSC star then turned on the afterburners for the rest of the race to cross the line in style.

This 2nd overall finish Rahul was his best ever at a Nationals after finishing 4th overall in 2017 & 2018. Pro triathlete and triathlon coach Harry Jones out of Port Macquarie finished 3rd overall a further 33 second adrift.

An exciting period for Rahul who in the past two weeks has also been named a finalist for the Seven News Young Achiever Awards (WA) in the Sports category. "I am really lucky to be able to learn from and get inspiration from 3 different sources. My swim coach Eoin Carroll of the Perth City Swim Club, run coach Professor Grant Landers of UWA Triathlon Club and the brilliant athletes of the North Coast Triathlon Club where I have honed my Aquathlon techniques as they have a 12 race Aquathlon series over the summer."

National Championships such as this afford world ranking points to the top 5 finishers, and this result should move Rahul into the top 24 overall in the world. With Aquathlon being selected by the Association of Olympic Councils for inclusion in October 2019 at the inaugural World Beach Games at the spiritual home of Triathlon, Mission Beach in San Diego, USA, a strong finish at the World Championships in the overall Elite category will put Rahul in the mix for one of the 24 coveted spots on the hallowed sands where the sport of Triathlon first came into this world in 1974!


photo: Jacqui Ricards