Such devoted sisters
TWO teenage sisters are making it a family affair while tri-ing to realise the Olympic dream. Natalie Barnard, a 19-year-old former winner of The Comet Sportswoman of the Year award, and her 16-year-old sister Faye are both talented triathletes who have g
TWO teenage sisters are making it a family affair while tri-ing to realise the Olympic dream.
Natalie Barnard, a 19-year-old former winner of The Comet Sportswoman of the Year award, and her 16-year-old sister Faye are both talented triathletes who have gained international recognition.
Triathlon involves the disciplines of swimming, cycling and running.
The elder sister is rated Great Britain's number one junior elite triathlete while Faye is also making her mark in the sport and is an extremely talented swimmer.
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Parents Dave, a former chairman of North Herts District Council, and Sue live in Lilley Bottom near Hitchin.
Dave said: "I'm incredibly proud of the two girls. Words can't describe how I felt when I saw Natalie first wearing the Great Britain vest.
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"Natalie is being groomed for the Olympics and she is on a programme with that goal in mind.
"She is very single minded in her aim of reaching the Olympics.
"It is difficult to make predictions as far as Faye is concerned as she generally confounds them! She has achieved more than Natalie in swimming and is really improving at triathlon."
A former Hitchin Girls' School pupil, Natalie is now at Loughborough University studying sport science, and training as a member of the Great Britain elite triathlon squad.
She started her sporting career as a national standard swimmer and captained the Herts senior swim team.
Natalie held numerous county swimming titles over several years and was a member of the English schools' swim team for four years. She also led Hitchin Girls' School to the national schools' finals.
She also represented Herts in the national schools' cross-country championships on three occasions.
Natalie has been runner-up three times in the national biathlon championships, and is currently national schools' senior champion and the Eastern Region record holder.
Her international honours include a bronze medal for the Great Britain team in the world biathlon championships in Monaco.
A winter of hard training will be followed by a move up from sprint distance to the full Olympic triathlon distance (1500m swim, 40k bike and a 10k run).
Faye is still a pupil at Hitchin Girls' School and she is an active member of Stopsley Striders Running Club, Hatfield Swimming Club, and is coached for triathlon by Dave Parry at the University of Essex.
This year, Faye has achieved at national level in her sports of swimming, athletics, biathlon, and triathlon.
In March, she set a new Herts junior county record for the 200m butterfly, and retained her titles as both senior and junior 100m champion. She went on to win a medal at the Southern Counties 100m butterfly.
Faye also won through to the Commonwealth Games trials in Sheffield, where she swam in both the 100m and 200m finals.
She set new senior and junior records for the Eastern Region 100m butterfly, while swimming for Herts in the national inter-counties competition.
Representing English Schools as captain of the intermediate girls' team, Faye won an individual bronze medal in the same discipline.
Faye led her school to the national swimming finals of the English schools' relays.
She won the Eastern Region biathlon championships, and qualified for the schools' national biathlon finals in Norwich in February where she claimed silver.
In May, she achieved personal best times, and finished just outside the medals, in the national biathlon finals in Manchester.
A member of the Great Britain squad for the world biathlon championships in Monaco, Faye is also in the British Triathlon Association world class start squad.
She swam for Hertfordshire at the inter-counties competition in Sheffield at the weekend, then attended a national swimming camp.
This weekend she captains the ladies' swim team in the English schools' competition in Manchester.