For those who were trying to figure out why Lucy Charles-Barclay had to bail on this weekend’s Super League Triathlon Arena Games in Rotterdam, we have an answer – the British star is returning to her athletic roots to compete at the British Swimming Selection Trials 2021. Charles-Barclay will swim the 1,500 m race on Sunday night – she is part of an eight-woman final heat.
Charles-Barclay enters the event with the sixth-fastest seed time, but her time is very close to a number of other swimmers in the field, and her personal best of 16:35.41 is actually faster than Leah Crisp’s PB of 16:38.76. British Swimming has put the Olympic qualifying time at 16:05, which is much faster than any of the women in the field have achieved. The British 1,500 m record is 15:47.26 by Jazmin Carlin – that record was set in 2013.
As a teenager Charles-Barclay was a national team swimmer and came very close to making the 2012 Olympics in open water. That year five British women had made the Olympic standard, with only one spot available, and in the end, the then-18-year-old didn’t make the final cut.
A few years later she turned her sights to triathlon and by 2015 she had won her age group at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The following year she turned pro and has since gone on to become one of the sport’s biggest names. Her resume includes three runner-up finishes in Kona, numerous Ironman titles, a win at Challenge Roth in 2019 and she is the only woman to have won the Challenge Championship in Samorin, Slovakia.
This year has already started with a bang – Charles-Barclay took second at Challenge Miami despite a two-minute penalty for passing a lapped rider on the inside, and then a surprising runner-up finish in her first short-distance pro race at the Super League Triathlon Arena Games in London a few weeks ago.
While she would have loved another opportunity to take on the challenge of another Arena Games event, Charles-Barclay couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to chase the Olympic dream, and will take on some of the best swimmers in the country on Sunday night.