Aileen Morrison takes a snap of herself with Olive Loughnane and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny. ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
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Triathlete Aileen Morrison ready for the challenge of a lifetime

An estimated half a million supporters will line the streets of London on Saturday to cheer the athletes on.

A LONG WEEKEND of Olympics watching and supporting Team Ireland will be kicked off on Saturday at 9am when Aileen Morrison takes to the water as part of the Women’s Triathlon.

Over half a million people are expected to line the streets of London as much of the event is free to view and the host nation has a serious medal contender in Helen Jenkins.

Morrison will take her place on the left of the start pontoon wearing No. 28, flanked by five-time World Series Winner Paula Findlay of Canada and 2011 Sprint World Champion Barbara Riveros Diaz of Chile.

The swimming start will be crucial to Morrison’s medal chances and it is an aspect of the event that she hopes to stay with the early pace-setters.

Team GB has selected Lucy Hall, a strong swimmer, with a view to splitting up the pack and dragging teammate and pre-race favourite Helen Jenkins along with her.

Keep in touch then pedal hard

Morrison, who has had an encouraging World Series season, will hope to stick with the swimming pace and be part of the leading pack.

Another important element to watch for is where major medal contenders Nicola Spirig and Gwen Jorgensen emerge from the water. If they are in the chase pack, according to Triathlon Ireland, supporters can expect the leader’s to push the pace in an effort to keep them at bay going into the 10 kilometer run.

Morrison along with Triathlon Ireland’s High Performance Director Chris Jones attended the course familiarisation on Thursday morning and listened closely to the swim draw. Jones commented:

Aileen’s high world ranking meant she received a nice position on the pontoon amongst a strong swim group. It brought a smile to her face when it was announced and gives the opportunity to stay in contention throughout the swim.

Morrison has moved from the pre Olympic camp in Lensbury where she has undertaken some gentle training over the past few days to accommodation closer to Hyde Park.

Good preparation

“We recced the area 18 months ago and booked the accommodation and facilities almost a year ago so we were guaranteed a prime location,” said Triathlon Ireland’s Olympic Team Manager Ken Lynch.

“We’ll be staying about 5 minutes from the transition area so it’s a convenient location for Aileen and Gavin Noble on race morning,” he added.

With a host of women capable of making the podium there will be no letting up throughout the 1,500m swim, 43km bike or 10km run.

The race can be viewed live from 8:45am on RTE 2 with race updates via @tri_ireland.

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