VICKY VAN DER MERWE’S WINNING TIPS FOR THE UPCOMING X TRI SERIES
International triathlete Vicky Botha has flown the flag for South Africa through grueling competition across thirty countries. Today, she runs a world class triathlon training squad in Stellenbosch. We joined her in preparation for the Woolworths X TRI.
Vicky’s journey as a triathlete began at age 15, when she was first introduced to the sport while attending Bloemhof Girls’ School in Stellenbosch. Under the guidance of mentor, Libby Burrel, she decided to take a brave step forward in her triathlon career and moved to the other side of the world to train with Olympic coach, Stephen Moss.
Since then, Vicky has competed in over 40 countries, has completed the International Triathlon Circuit, and trained under the leadership of numerous Olympic coaches, all while completing her LLB Law degree. This week we found out a bit more about her passion before she gave us some tips and tricks for the X TRI series.
“I really love the sport, I’m very passionate about it and that’s why I really enjoy sharing that passion with the athletes I coach,” explains Vicky. Far from slowing her down, motherhood has only made Vicky’s career in triathlon a more interesting challenge.
“Being a new mom is definitely a big balancing act but my husband is amazing, he’s very hands on with Adriaan,” she says, “it is careful planning but a good support structure at home makes it possible.” If you’re looking for three exercises to help with triathlons, Vicky has provider her three go-t- exercise that are equipment free and can be done from the comfort of your home:
- Pushup. These are great for swimming as it helps build strength in your upper body and triceps. For optimal results make sure that you do this exercise slowly.
- Single leg step up. This exercise is great for cycling and swimming and involves using the opposite arm to leg. Make sure that you go up quickly howe,ver come down slowly and rotate on each side.
- Single leg deadlift. This is Vicky’s favourite exercise to help with cycling and running. If you don’t have weights, use filled up water bottles.
While we joined Vicky for her gym session, we found out more about her surprising career choice for a multi-talented young woman previously headed for a career at the bar.
“Coaching was never something I thought I would do as a job, I studied law and was planning on practicing as a lawyer so it all happened very organically and out of a passion that developed,” she explains.
With her passion for the sport and love of connecting with people through the sport, Vicky decided to join the Woolworths X TRI powered by Imperial as one of its three coaches. Woolworths’ Louis Daffarn told us a bit more about the event at Paul Cluver wine farm, the traditional home of the Woolworths X TRI.
“What’s quite unique about the X TRI is that we offer people the opportunity to enter as an individual or in teams of two or three so that you can match up with friends or colleagues,” explains Louis, “the idea is that everyone is comfortable and having a good time.”
This year, the X TRI includes four categories, including two bonus categories:
- XTRI Full – 1000m Open Water Swim, 27km Technical Mountain Bike, and a 12km Trail Run.
- XTRI Lite – 400m Open Water Swim, 12km Jeep Track Mountain Bike, and a 4km Off Road Run
- Run 4 Fun – 5km Off Road Run.
- Walk 4 Good – 3km Nature Walk
“For this year, there will be three events nationally, the first event is happening at Buffelspoort on 25 September, we’re following that up at Karkloof Country Club on 30 October, and then finishing off at Paul Cluver on 4 December,” explains Louis.
“The reason why we’re going national is because we really want to take the Woolies ethos of wellness out into our communities and make sure that all our customers and friends of woolies can join in and get into the fun that is the Woolies X TRI.”
The event offers participants a FREE training program and useful tips and tricks from a trio of pros fortunately for our viewers, Vicky has given us a few tips as well:
- Don’t try anything new on race day.
- Make sure equipment is tested before you get to the event.
- No helmet no ride.
- Check your tyre pressure.
- Leave your chain (can’t hear exactly what shes saying).
- When you exit the swim, make sure your gear is light.
- Know the terrain you’re running on.
- Nutrition is dependent on race however, have a good breakfast, and eat something small every 45 minutes.
It’s often those smallest, seemingly marginal choices that can add up to a champion performance. And every entry raises funds to improve food security, reduce child vulnerability and uplift education in communities countrywide.
Enter the Woolworths X TRI powered by Imperial in Gauteng on 25 September 2022, KwaZulu Natal on 30 October 2022, and the Western Cape on 4 December 2022.
Stand a chance of winning a R500 Woolworths voucher! To enter, simply reply to the competition post on The Insider SA’s social media platforms and tell us which six sports Vicky received provincial colours for. Competition ends 25 September 2022 and Ts&Cs apply.