THE QUEEN’S HOMECOMING – SLT CHAMPION KATIE ZAFERES RETURNS
23rd September, 2018
Katie Zaferes will be returning to Jersey as our reigning female series champion having taken overall honours across our two events in 2017. She’s one of the strongest and most consistent athletes on the planet and will be looking to ride that wave of form into the Super League Triathlon (SLT) season – has she got what it takes after a long season of racing to keep the engine revving? Can she summon the required mindset to face a stacked field who will be better prepared than last year and gunning for her title?
We sat down with Katie to get her views on SLT, Jersey and the impact of the season ahead whilst also trying to get an insight into the mind of a champion!
So what changes or specific training will you implement going into the SLT season – does SLT make you think about your training differently?
For my training I try to be fairly balanced across the year and prepare for all different kinds of racing but with Jersey and the SLT-style racing, a lot of it becomes more detail orientated. The “smaller second here, second off there” stuff starts to matter more with the shorter / faster races so I’m focused on making sure my transitions go flawlessly and leaning more on the fast twitch muscles.
The interesting thing about SLT is that although it is faster and shorter, it is still an endurance event with it being over two days – so you have to be prepared to go fast but also recover fast!
Are you excited to be racing in Jersey again as the reigning series champion?
Oh of course! it was my first time to Jersey last year and it treated me well, not just with the race result but the people, the community. It was really fun to explore such a beautiful place too – I was only there for four or five days but I used my training to explore, and rode out in both directions. I loved the extreme tide swings and we ran out to the castle you can only reach when the tide allows, it’s such an interesting place. I think one of the best things was the surfing experience and laughing at all these top triathletes who can’t surf!!
Do you think the SLT weekends are impacting the wider community in the race locations?
For sure. Firstly, I think it’s nice to have an event at any place that brings the community together, and for us athletes it’s really cool that we get to meet all the youngsters. I was blown away by how big the Jersey triathlon community was for a relatively small place, and getting to meet some of the little ones who are coming up had quite the impact. It’s so cool that they get to meet some of the people they look up to in the sport.
What advice would you give to youngsters who are thinking of racing their first triathlon at the SLT Age Group event in Jersey?
I think the biggest thing is always to have fun, take each moment by moment and don’t get too far ahead of yourself because there is time. One of the greatest things about triathlon is there is time to make up for mistakes and after every race there are positives you can draw that’ll help you identify things to work on. Thats what I love, you’ll never have a perfect race and to me that’s really cool.
So what methods / routines do you use when the chips are down in a race to keep a positive mental attitude?
The most important thing is to remember that it is never over until you cross the line. If something goes wrong there is often time to make up for it and that is not the end of your race if you don’t let your mind think it is. Also – don’t look too deeply into how you feel, racing is hard and it’s often not going to feel great but you can still have a good race even when you’re not feeling good. That has been a big learning experience for me – learning how to push even when it feels hard!
Katie Zaferes is an inspirational figure within triathlon with a mindset that most athletes on the planet would be jealous of. SLT is fortunate to have a reigning champion who sees not only the weekend as a race, but also an opportunity to sow the seeds of endurance racing into the community. The question is – can we expect Katie to be able to maintain her level across the series, or have we seen the best of this star athlete as the talent pool rises to meet her?