Gold Coast a home away from home for Butterfield
Tyler Butterfield says the Gold Coast has a special place in his heart and feels like his second home after living there for two memorable years.
Butterfield travelled to the mecca of Australian triathlon in 2001 after graduating from Saltus Grammar School to immerse himself in the sport and attended the prestigious Southport School.
It was while training in the Broadwater Parklands, the venue for Thursday’s races, where he met his wife Nikki Butterfield, formerly Egyed, who competed for Australia in triathlon and cycling.
He still has many friends in the area and believes it would be fitting if it was where he represented Bermuda for the final time.
“I finished Year 12 at Saltus and was heavily into triathlon and the best guys were Australian,” Butterfield said.
“The Gold Coast was where they all trained, so that’s where I went.
“There’s really no downside for me competing on the Gold Coast. There are a lot of sentimental things and it’s where I met my wife Nikki — we both trained out of the Southport pool. I also know the course well.
“A lot of my friends have been like, ‘It will be great to see you down here’ and it’s comforting that I have a community here.
“If this is my last ever Games, it’s a home away from home race.”
Butterfield, whose focus remains on the Ironman-distance races, thought he had represented Bermuda for the final time at the Glasgow Games in 2014, where the 35-year-old finished nineteenth.
However, the lure of competing alongside Flora Duffy in the explosive mixed team relay — a 300-metre swim, 7.5-kilometre bike and 1.5km run — was enough to change his mind.
“The main objective for me is the mixed team relay,” Butterfield said.
“It should be really exciting to watch and I’ve never done one before; I don’t think any of us have.
“Flora is the team leader and hopefully I can play my part. I’m super excited about it and I don’t want to let the team down.
“In a 300-metre swim you can only lose so much time, so I feel positive about that.
“It’s only three-and-a-half minutes!”
Butterfield, who competed alongside Duffy at the 2006 Melbourne Games, said the relay is the only reason he has made the long journey to Australia.
He admits he is nervous about the individual race and hopes it will not overly punish his body as he has just two days to recover before the relay.
“I’m most nervous about the individual triathlon because of the 800-metre swim; swimming’s my weakness,” the two-times Olympian said.
“Unless I have the best swim of my life and have one of those magical days, I’m not going to be anywhere near the front. I hope to be somewhere in the middle to middle back.”
With the individual triathlon switching from Olympic to sprint distance — 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run — Butterfield has tailored his training accordingly.
“Training can be going as great as you want but the race is all that matters,” said Butterfield, who will also perform the marathon on the final day of the Games.
“If it doesn’t pan out then the training wasn’t exactly what I needed or the body didn’t respond. But I’m hoping and confident that it will.
“I’ve been doing a lot of hard speed work because I’m scared of not having it.
“If I can exceed my expectations then that’s always a good thing.”
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