Triathlon pulls pair together

Despite not being strong swimmers, Megan Hughes and Natasha Quintanilla swam for a corporate triathlon recently. Picture: David Baylis d416962
Despite not being strong swimmers, Megan Hughes and Natasha Quintanilla swam for a corporate triathlon recently. Picture: David Baylis d416962

In two months, she and City of Gosnells workmate Megan Hughes went from being almost unable to stay afloat to completing a 1km open-water swim.

Hughes moved to Australia from Ireland three years ago with no swimming skills and when an email arrived asking staff to join a team for a corporate triathlon a few months away, she thought it the perfect motivation.

She roped in Quintanilla, only a slightly stronger swimmer, and the two went down to Leisure World in Thornlie and jumped in.

‘Tash took off OK, but I didn’t get two feet along before I was swallowing water,’ Hughes said.

After weeks of breaststroke, aided by a nose plug, Hughes started freestyle and the pair began alternating the two strokes.

Hughes said Quintanilla had been a ‘motivational guru’ as well as training partner as race day drew closer.

‘I had a couple of emotional breakdowns, training six days a week and freaking out, and Tash was there saying, ‘Calm down, woman’,’ she said.

They built up to 400m freestyle, 800m, then 1km, but all still in the pool.

Their coach, Leisure World’s Pam Vincent, decided they needed realistic preparation and took them out to open water twice on the Saturdays before the race, in her own time.

The first swim was a challenge.

The second was complicated by an encounter with a jellyfish, but the pair made it through and finished the race with ease when the day came.

They emerged from the water to banners brandished by family and friends, and have now continued training once a week while they decide where to compete next.