LAUNCESTON triathlete Natalea Smith says it feels "surreal" to be the best in the world in her age group after winning the 16-19 ITU aquathlon title at the world championships at London's Hyde Park.
With aquathlons not involving cycling (Smith's weakest discipline), she said she was confident of doing well, but was still shocked with her victory.
The 18-year-old from Blackstone Heights said she started a bit flat in Wednesday's event, which involves a one-kilometre open water swim and 5-kilometre run, due to the cold conditions.
"It took me around 300 metres to get going and start picking my way through the 250-people field," she told The Examiner yesterday.
"My run to transition was really short (around 50 metres) and I didn't have time to get my wetsuit off, so I had a really slow transition.
"But I started my run at a good pace sitting around 14th.
"I got a stitch around the 1.5km mark, and I have to admit I thought about giving up.
"But I'm so so happy I didn't because about 500 metres later it was gone and I finally got into my run rhythm and started getting through the other girls.
"I'm lucky I'm smaller, as I can run faster, it's just I lost a little time getting knocked around in the swim."
In an Aussie one-two, the 18-year-old from of Blackstone Heights beat home Emma Jeffcoat, of New South Wales, by six seconds, in a time of 33.53.
Fellow Australian Elyse Foster finished fourth.
Smith is also due to take part in the 16-19 sprint, which is part of the 2013 ITU world triathlon grand final.
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