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Shipwreck survivor Els Visser inspired by Sam Long and Lionel Sanders’ swim battles

After finishing last in Singapore last year, Dutchwoman turns things around in stunning style.

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Els Visser made the most of her wildcard chance, finishing third after a dramatic Singapore T100.

The Dutchwoman has now raced four times this season and made the podium in every one of them – but this was against by far the highest-quality field.

And it was all the more impressive as she had four minutes to make up after the swim.

She came through late on the run to overtake fellow wildcard Lucy Buckingham and move into third behind winner Ashleigh Gentle and runner-up Lucy Charles-Barclay.

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From last to third

And speaking afterwards on the live broadcast, she revealed how she’d been motivated by the exploits of two of the highest-profile middle-distance men, Sam Long and Lionel Sanders.

She explained: “I think I surprised myself and I surprised all the others as well. And for me, it’s just kind of a dream to be on the podium with Ashleigh and Lucy. I never expected to finish on the podium.

“I finished last [of the 22 finishers] at the PTO European Open last year. And I was also last here in Singapore last year.

“But I keep working hard. And I know that my swim is not the strongest, but Sam Long and Lionel Sanders have been so inspirational to me because it really showed me that you can still do super well even if you swim s***.

“I’m not a good swimmer. I know, but I just accept it. I move on, I try to ride super hard and give it my all. So, yeah, I’m super proud.”

Visser of course famously survived a shipwreck before taking up triathlon so her “I’m not a good swimmer” quote is all relative.

Els Visser t100 Singapore 2024 run finish photo credit PTO
Els Visser bags a podium place in Singapore [Photo credit: PTO]

In the moment

She added: “My coach said just focus on yourself no matter the circumstances, the only thing you worry about is yourself, so that’s what I did.

“I came out of the water and I thought now just go to work, push hard on the bike, just be patient and I really made up some time to the other girls. I got closer and closer and in the last lap, my legs really started cramping.

“I didn’t know how I would feel on the run and it took me a while to find my rhythm but I really found the rhythm and just super happy I could overtake and stay in front.”

And chatting to TRI247’s Jenny Lucas-Hill, Visser revealed she enjoyed the nature of the bike course, saying: “It’s got a couple of really hard climbs where you have to come out of the saddle. With the heat, it makes it incredibly challenging.

“It was nice having the eight laps though, so you could really focus on each one and count down. That was my approach and I tried not to look too far ahead.”

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

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