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Athletes and coaches returning to competition reflect on training due to COVID-19

Updated: Mar. 14, 2021 at 8:49 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - More than 350 athletes from across North and South America gathered at Nathan Benderson Park over the weekend to compete in the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon.

Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, Chief Operating Officer Stephen Rodriguez said the ability to host this event brings a flood of emotions.

“There’s a lot of different emotions that come to mind about the fact that we are doing this event today,” said Rodriguez.

Emotions that also are in the minds of athletes and coaches alike, which some say training leading up to the triathlon due to COVID was a bit different than normal.

“It was hard,” said Colorado resident Cassie Hickey. “It’s been good, obviously a lot more isolated than I’d like,” said Virginia resident Abby Church.

Church and Hickey both said while their training was a little different, it was manageable, looking forward, Hickey said coming into the race, nobody knew what the expect.

“Seeing the difference between the different states and what everyone could do, " said Hickey. “I don’t think anyone knew where they would be going into it.”

On the flipside coach, Richard Gossow had the same expectations but said his athletes were rearing to go.

“They were so ready for it, they were hungry they wanted to do it,” said Gossow.

Hickey said Saturday’s race should be used as a baseline for future competition. “It’s a good race to kind of give yourself a benchmark, go home, and put in the work,” said Hickey.

Gossow agreed. “Absolutely the early season races are exactly that,” said Gossow. “We figure out where are the athletes and we exactly know how to modify our program to make them improve on those shortcomings for the next races.”

Races will continue at Nathan Benderson Park on Sunday, for road closures in the area near the park, visit our website.

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