Clayton gets national team call
ALSTONVILLE triathlete Clayton Fettell is gearing up for the biggest race of his life after being selected in the 10-man Australian team for the International Triathlon Union Long Distance World Championships in Perth this month.
Fettell initially missed out on the team this year as he had not fully recovered from stomach surgery to repair severe reflux when the selection race was held, however team member Michael Murphy crashed recently while racing and has been forced to withdraw.
Fettell is his replacement.
“I got in by default because I was sick when the selection race was held at Jervis Bay,” the 23-year-old said.
“When I missed out I asked if I could fill a spot but they had filled the quota.
“After he (Murphy) crashed they rang and asked me to join the team.”
The Long Distance race will be held over a 3km swim, 80km cycle and 20km run along the Swan River from October 22 to 25.
Fettell, who has been racing for the past few months in the United States, will head to Calypso Bay this weekend for the Gold Coast Half Ironman.
It will be his last lead-up race before heading to Perth.
“I had a good trip (to the US) and did a lot of racing,” he said.
“I finished sixth in the Escape from Alcatraz and I led out of the water, which is one of the most prestigious swims in the world.
“It's notoriously hard because it is pretty rough and long (2.4km).”
Fettell also won an aquathon (run, swim) at California's Huntington Beach, claimed eight fourths in a row and finished sixth in a Lifeline race at Minneapolis.
Last week he won the Woolgoolga Triathlon by four minutes.
Australian representatives Simon Thompson, Tim Berkel and Dane Robinson have also moved to the plateau to train with the Alstonville triathlete.
Meanwhile, Fettell has recently taken over as head coach of the Alstonville Swimming Club, training the elite and adult squads.
It's a role he's enjoying as Alstonville tries to re-establish its competitiveness on the Far North Coast, a scene the club once dominated.
While success has come on the 'field', Fettell is also getting some success 'off the field' with a new sponsor.
The Il Postino cafe at Alstonville, owned by Tim Mulcahy, has recently signed on as a sponsor.
It's an unusual fit, as triathletes are usually sponsored by shoe, cycle or swimwear manufacturers.
“Elite athletes need support because there is so much travel involved,” Mulcahy said.
“From a personal and business point of view, yes it's the first time we've sponsored a triathlete, but for me I hope it's an ongoing relationship that benefits both of us.”