Kate French and Sam Curry start seasons with NRC1 victories
Kate French and Sam Curry enjoyed the perfect start to their 2017 seasons as they claimed victories in the first Pentathlon GB National Ranking Competition of the year. Both athletes enjoyed similar days with the combined laser-run proving to be the cornerstone of their success.
In the women’s event, French finished 16 points clear of Jess Varley with fellow 2016 Olympian Samantha Murray 3rd. Meanwhile in the Men’s event, Curry enjoyed a comfortable victory over Tom Toolis with 18 year old Myles Pillage rounding out the top 3.
The competition, which was held at the University of Bath - Pentathlon GB’s National Training Centre - started in the pool with the 200m swim. Murray recorded the quickest time of the women’s event in 2:15.68, 0.4 seconds ahead of Sarah Collin with Georgia Pipes’2:19.29 3rd fastest.
Murray continued her good start to the day in the fencing salle where 20 victories and 8 defeats saw her top a second discipline standings. Pipes and 2015 Junior World Champion Francesca Summers recorded 19 victories apiece to finish 2nd, meaning the trio were the top 3 heading into the laser-run with Murray enjoying a 15 second lead over Pipes and 25 over Summers. After 2 disciplines, French was lying 4th with a 45 second deficit to Murray with Varley, Kerenza Bryson and Amy Silk all 9 seconds further back.
An exciting laser-run saw the top 5 positions changing throughout, French eventually crossing the line 1st ahead of Varley thanks to the two quickest times of the day. Murray, Summers and Bryson were 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively whilst Dumfries’ Jo Muir recorded the 3rd best laser-run time of the day to move up to 6th ahead of the ride.
The ride at West Wilts Equestrian Centre saw limited changes to the overall standings with Muir moving above Bryson the only change among the top 7 as the top GB female pentathletes safely navigated their way around the showjumping course.
It meant French held on to take victory ahead of Varley, Murray, Summers, Muir, Bryson and Pipes. Three more National Training Centre athletes rounded out the top 10 with Holly Parker finishing 8th ahead of Charlie Follett and Georgia Hannam.
In the men’s event, Myles Pillage produced a sublime sub 2-minute swim to take the lead after the opening discipline ahead of Bradley Sutton and Henry Choong. In the fencing salle it was Joe Choong who excelled as he topped the discipline standings ahead of fellow 2016 Olympian Jamie Cooke with Tom Toolis and Sam Curry finishing joint 3rd with 21 victories and 12 defeats. It meant another fascinating laser-run developed with the top 5 of Joe Choong, Pillage, Toolis, Cooke and Curry separated by just 26 seconds at the start.
As in the preceding Women’s heat, the top 5 positions changed throughout the 3200m course. Eventually it was Curry, who is currently studying at King’s College in London, who prevailed with the quickest time of the day. He was followed across the line by Pillage, Toolis, Choong and Cooke, setting the order ahead of the ride, the final discipline of the day.
In his first competition since Rio, Joe Choong withdrew before the ride leaving Curry, Pillage and Toolis to battle it out for victory. Toolis knocked 2 poles down but moved ahead of Pillage into 2nd after the 18 year-old suffered a difficult round. It gave Curry some breathing space ahead of his ride and he finished the day in style with a wonderful clear round to pick up the maximum 300 points and claim a comfortable victory.
Behind the top 3, Bath based trio Cooke, Bradley Sutton and Jamie Harper finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. Cambridge University’s Paul Hodgson finished 7th ahead of Plymouth College’s Edward Clark with Josh Miller and Joe Choong rounding out the top 10.
The second National Ranking Competition of the year takes place next month, also at the University of Bath and West Wilts Equestrian Centre.