Arklow swim coach qualifies for Half Ironman World Championships in Finland

Asgard Swimming Club coach Alex Williams has qualified for the Half Ironman World Championships in Finland after finishing fifth in his age group at Ironman Cork earlier this month.

By his own admission, the 40-year-old fitness fanatic produced one of his best results in a half-ironman competition, completing the 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run in an impressive time of 4:44.

Alex competed in the 40-44 age bracket, by far Cork’s most competitive half ironman age bracket. Finishing in fifth place secured Finland’s final qualifying spot but, as lowly Alex explained, he would have been happy with a competitive time.

“It wasn’t in my mind before the race,” said Alex. “The top 10 would have been a great result, given the competition on the day, especially in my age bracket. I was in the top ten coming out of the swim, lost some time on the cycle – which is usually my strongest discipline of the three – and then got it back on the run.

Alex maintains that the monster feat would not have been possible without the support of his friends, family and his beloved wife Sabine.

“My wife was there with me through it all,” Alex continued. “She tracked my splits, my progress, using an Ironman tracker. So every time we go through timing mats on the course, she can see where I am and gauge and relay how well I’m doing. Sabine was fantastic throughout.

Originally from Courtown, Alex currently lives in Gorey. He started working at the Coral Leisure Center in Arklow a year ago and has been teaching and coaching swimming for 10 years.

“I really enjoy giving back to the Arklow swimming community. I take great pleasure in preparing the kids for their competitions, watching people improve and progress. I have also worked as a personal trainer and swimming instructor. fitness for the past 15 years I guess I take great satisfaction in helping others achieve their goals.

Alex was destined to be a top athlete. As a youth, he played hurling and football for Wexford, at juvenile and minor level, but cut his GAA career off after suffering a series of minor injuries.

“I was picking up injury after injury playing at GAA, and just wanted to try something a little different,” Alex said. “Hurling and football were all I had known all my life. So I started running in 2004, did a few marathons…. did a few more, and it became my thing.

Thereafter, Alex immersed himself in the world of competitive fitness. He developed a keen interest in cycling, reaching an impressive A1 level and he even competed in the famous Rás Tailtean.

He also competed in triathlons around the country for about three or four years, both sprint and Olympic distance, including the King of Greystones and the Olympic Triathlon Championships in Hamburg, Germany in 2007.

Since 2007, Alex has participated in triathlons over all distances, from sprint to Olympic, from half ironman to ironman. In total he has completed six Ironman competitions so far, will be doing his seventh at the Ironman Wales event in September and, in his words, has done more half Ironmans than he can remember.

After finishing Ironman Cork, Alex has allowed himself the “luxury” of a two-day rest period before returning straight to training for Ironman Wales, to be held in Tendy on September 8.

Alex said he was fully focused on the competitions ahead of him, but it was hard not to think about the Half Ironman World Championships in Finland next year.

“It’s a long way off, but I’m definitely going to keep myself in top shape for this,” Alex said. “There are a lot of events in between.

“I’m really looking forward to being in Finland, it should be an amazing experience. You have to get there on your own, which is quite expensive with the bike. So I could try to get sponsorship to cover the costs. Of course, I will go both ways and do my best! »