Today we’re talking with the youngest member of our coaching team, George Janes, who’s been training with the club for nearly two years now. He says it feels like longer… we’re not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing!:
STC: Hi George! Let’s get straight to the point: When did you join Sheffield Triathlon Club?
George: My Dad (Dan Janes) brought me in to the fold after I’d done my first triathlon, a super-sprint in the Summer of 2018. I immediately started coming to the swim sessions at Graves, starting at the bottom of lane 3. I found the sets, drills, and feedback from the coaches very beneficial, as I didn’t have the experience to think about my swimming on my own; over the course of the year my swimming improved dramatically and I progressed to the top of lane 6.
STC: You’ve put in some great swim times at the club aquathons this year. Is it fair to say that swimming is your favourite discipline?
George: Yes, it’s one of my favourite things to do in the world regardless of triathlon and is the discipline I am best at. My weakest discipline is cycling. I don’t spend enough time on the bike due to the fact that I lack access to any form of exercise bike and I am not very confident to go on the roads myself. Most of the time I’m only ever on a bike during a triathlon itself so I really ought to do more!
STC: Do you enjoy racing? What do you aspire to, in terms of races?
George: My favourite races I’ve done are the Westfield Aquathons. I’ve only done them for two years but they’re something that I look forward to. Upcoming events this year would have included my first Olympic distance in Ripon. The eventual goal is to do an Ironman 70.3 in Austria in 2021 which will be 5 days after my eighteenth birthday. My parents aren’t doing this event with me but will be there to support.
Austria was the goal I set in mind after my Dad signed up for the full Ironman in Spain. A reason for choosing this particular 70.3 was my other passion, history, as I plan to spend a lot of time after the race travelling the around the alpine regions in Austria and Bavarian regions.
STC: Aiming for a 70.3 requires long-term motivation: How do you train, and how has this been impacted by Covid-19?
George: My schedule was worked around my school life so it depended on the quantity of work set. Most commonly I would be in the gym four or five times a week and I would swim once or twice depending on coaching. I would then fit runs in as and when. Covid-19 has in some ways benefited my training. I’ve got more time now that school is cancelled and I plajn exercise around the work they set. I’ve gone on more runs during this period. However, it has impacted on swimming and access to the gym, which has thrown me for a loop as these were integrated into my daily routine. Instead, I’m doing exercise sessions either devised by me or from YouTube, and boxing on the punch bag in the garage.
STC: I’m sure we can all identify with that feeling of having the routine disrupted!
You’ve mentioned your parents a couple of times; what role have they played in your pursuit of triathlon?
George: My Dad was the one who introduced me to the sport and to the club which I will be forever grateful for as the sport has changed my life. My Mum has only recently started to do triathlons. I couldn’t be more proud of her for taking on her fear of water and excelling at it. Both have been really supportive throughout my triathlon journey.
STC: Why coach?
George: My motivation for becoming a coach was to help other athletes out. So far I’ve only coached swimming but I feel it’s where I’m best suited due to my passion for that area. It’s rewarding seeing someone take on my advice and see the improvements week to week.
STC: Do you notice any common differences between triathletes and non-triathletes when it comes to swimming?
George: There aren’t too many major differences in pool based technique, with only subtle things such as hand entry. Open water is where there are considerable differences such as the lack of leg kick from most, arm positioning and entry into the water, and breathing. I usually coach lanes 1 and 2 which are the more novice lanes. Here, the most common mistake I see is in the head position: Novice swimmers tend to look straight forward, lifting their head, which means that their bottom half sinks in the water resulting in all sorts of imbalances. For instance it makes the arm pull harder and also increases drag. Instead they should have their head lower down to be flat in the water. Once this has been rectified, we have a better base to work off for further improvements.
STC: Finally, do you have any particularly memorable triathlon experiences?
George: Possibly getting hypothermia at Wetherby triathlon, and being found by a fellow club member wrapped up in a blanket drinking tea in the scout hall – It didn’t put me off though!
STC: No, we can see that 🙂 Thanks for talking with us George, and we’ll look forward to seeing you again once we’re all allowed out.