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Janette’s inspiring triathlon story (and some top tips)

Written by Fiona May 02 2014

This is an inspiring story about triathlete Janette Cardy, who competed for GB in Biathle in 2003 and 2004 but suffered a stroke in 201. The operation to remove her thyroid left her unable to speak and with the prospect of being unable to work, train or compete.


PIc credit ©

But she fought back. Janette spent months in speech therapy and training, before making an amazing comeback as a GB athlete at the London World Aquathlon Championships, where she came fifith and also won the Nationals.

She is currently training for this year’s Nationals, Europeans and Worlds. Here she reveals her top tips for open water swimming (this is my biggest fear in a triathlon).

How to step up to the open water swimming challenge

1 – Start your swim training early in the year. Don’t leave it until a month before the race to get in the pool or the open water.

2 – Seek professional support with your swimming. Technique is crucial and it helps to have a good coach to offer training tips, technique pointers and to give you the confidence to enjoy the swim part of a triathlon.

3 – Professional, expert advice doesn’t have to be expensive or be a long-term investment. You can attend your local tri club or seek 1:1 training for once a month sessions.

4 – The real key to swimming is to relax in the pool or open water and to “feel” the water. The more practice you get, the more relaxed you will be.

5 – It is important to have a good body position in the water, and core strength can help with this. Consider attending a weekly pilates class to work on your core strength, mobility and flexibility.

6 – Buddy up with a friend. Its easier to train with someone and stick to a plan if you have arranged a session together in advance. You are less likely to cancel or rearrange.

7 – Once the swimming feels more accomplished, practice transitions. Again, it’s worth speaking to a coach or a local tri club on tips for this. But the more you practice getting out of your wetsuit and into your cycling kit the better you will be. Practice, practice, practice…

8 – Enjoy the challenge of learning new skills and set realistic goals and targets.

9 – Don’t spend a fortune on kit to start with. You will need a tri suit, (or costume and shorts), hat, goggles and possibly a wetsuit if open water – you can hire these for around £100 for the whole season. You can then cycle in your tri suit maybe with a warmer top to put on, cycle in trainers and then run in the same trainers for the run section. Work within your budget.

10 – Go along to local events and watch and support. See what people are wearing, which bikes they are using and enjoy the friendly atmosphere of local races. Triathlon is possibly the friendliest sport I have ever participated in.

11 – Even if swimming is your weak part of a tri, don’t avoid it. Work on it and make it as strong as your other two disciplines. On the other side of the coin, don’t work solely on your swimming and sacrifice the other disciplines. Work out a training plan and stick with it.

12 – Ensure you have balance in your life and it’s not all about training. Ensure you have rest days and always listen to your body and if need be, miss a session.

Janette Cardy is the owner of Janette Cardy Fitness based in Oxfordshire, running fitness classes in the community, personal training for general fitness, sports coaching for running, swimming and triathlon. She also works as a motivational speaker for schools and corporate events.

Find out more about her work at

* Story is taken with permission from TriGear

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