HILLINGDON triathlete Sky Draper topped the podium in the female section of the second race in the Hillingdon Triathletes' summer series triathlons.
Draper, put aside a stomach condition which caused her to withdraw from a British Triathlon Super Series event the previous weekend, to finish fourth overall and the top of the pile in the women’s category.
Speaking after the event at the Outdoor Activity Centre in Harefield, Draper said: "I'm really happy to have got out a good race today. It's cleared up some doubts over stomach problems I've had recently so I'm now feeling really positive about my upcoming races."
Nearly 100 swimmers took to the water for the lake swim and it was soon apparent that three of them were establishing a significant lead over the rest of the field - Dan Bullock (British record holder for 800m at 35-39 age group), Sky's training partner Lewis Hawkins and Sky herself.
As the race progressed around the lake, these three pulled further and further ahead. Bullock was first out of the water followed closely by Hawkins with Draper eight seconds behind him. The next swimmer was nearly a minute down on Draper.
The Esporta Northwood member was the only one of the trio to continue to race. Both Bullock and Hawkins contested the swim only so were at an advantage compared to Draper who had to conserve some energy for the succeeding two disciplines.
Draper had a really encouraging run, the part of the race in which she might have been impeded by her stomach complaint. She looked strong as she finished the 6km run in a time of 25:01 (including transition time) which was bettered by only three male athletes who were to complete all three disciplines.
As she set out on the bike, Draper was the overall leader. She knew that her margin of about a minute would not be enough to hold off cyclist Mark Edwards, who came past her on lap one of the two lap circuit.
Unfortunately, she was overtaken by two other males in the final stage of the race to see her finish fourth overall but reach the top of the podium in the female competition.
Draper's next race is the Blenheim triathlon this Saturday.