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Sanders hopes improved swim will set her up for success

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By Mark Etheridge

Fifteenth in the inagural Cape Town leg of the World Triathlon Series last year, Olympian Gillian Sanders is quietly confident of something a lot better in this year’s event at Green Point on Saturday.
A recent winner in Portugal after a crash on the bike in Abu Dhabi, Sanders is most excited about her swimming progress, a leg that is so vital a part of the three-phase event.
‘Preparation has gone really well and I believe I’ve had a breakthrough in my swimming and hopefully this will reflect tomorrow,’ she told Road to Rio 2016.
‘It all boils down to execution now and making the right decisions on race day. All the prep is done and nothing more to do than execute my race as best as possible.’
Sanders, based in London for the last few years, is also excited to be back racing on home turf. ‘Racing at home in front of a local crow and in front of my family is always special and hopefully will give me that extra edge. It’s also great to know that I’m in shape to mix it with the best girls in the world.’
The women’s field is as strong as ever, despite the absence of the inform Gwen Jorgensen, the quickest runner on the current circuit. Last year the American took forever to recover from the icy effects of the Atlantic ocean swim (the girls only did one lap and not two due to the temperature). She lost ground on the bike as she ‘de-thawed’ and despite her 32min 10km finishing leg on the run, was unable to haul in winner Jodie Stimpson and Helen Jenkins as the British duo took gold and silver.
Sanders looked at her threats: ‘Well Nicola Spirig is reigning Olympic champion and this is her first World Series race since the Games, she is extremely strong and is always a podium threat.
‘Similarly Helen is back from injury having last raced in August last year, as well as Vicky Holland. I have no idea what their fitness is like but they are both quality athletes.
‘We know Americans Katie Zaferes and Sarah True are both in great form as they’ve both joined countrywoman Gwen on the podium this year so expect them both up there.’
Elaborating on her swimming improvement, Sanders said it wasn’t anything specific, just a question of things slotting into place both physically and mentally.
‘Swim wise, its just been something technical that has finally clicked. I’ve not increased mileage or anything, my coach and I worked hard over Nov/Dec nailing some technical aspects. I also spent a two-week camp in Spain with some of the British athletes. Lucy Hall was amongst them and just doing some sessions alongside her and the other girls helped my confidence a great deal.’
Just how much will be seen on Saturday but there’s no doubting she’ll have the full voice of the Mother City behind her!
Racing starts at 3pm with a 1500m swim (water temperature permitting), 40km bike and 10km run, finishing at the new Green Point Athletics Stadium.


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