Terenzo Bozzone

Before I start this post I need to be very clear. In no way do I have anything to do with Terenzo’s training for the triathlon swim. This post is not an effort to gain reflected glory from a superb triathlete. However I did want to write something. Because since Terenzo had an awful crash on his bike – he was hit by a truck – I have sat beside the Millennium Institute pool and watched him work his way back to fitness. And I have been deeply impressed. Patiently, without fuss or excuses, he has lifted himself back from a broken man on the side of an Auckland road to something like pre-crash fitness. Peter Snell wrote a book about his running career. He called it “No Bugles No Drums”. The same title describes Terenzo’s climb back to fitness.

Several times he has joined in with Eyad’s training. Usually he picks the training sessions that suit his ironman event. Main sets like 100×100 or 4×1500 or 6×1000 might be a real grind for sprinter Eyad but are bread and butter to one of the world’s best ironmen. When Eyad has 50×15 or 10×25 Terenzo goes off to tackle a more suitable session. There are two things I enjoy watching Terenzo swim with Eyad.

First, Terenzo has been a fantastic influence on his sprinting mate. They are both competitive human beings, competitive in the very best meaning of that word. Eyad enjoys the challenge of taking on the ironman in a long session of 400s and Terenzo refuses to surrender when the session is 100s or 50s. They laugh and joke about Eyad’s better turns and Terenzo’s dominant aerobic fitness. It is competitive in the best possible way. Competition without turning training sessions into a grudge match. Competition that builds rather than tears apart. The association is good. Terenzo is great for Eyad’s fitness and Eyad is great for Terenzo’s speed. It works.

And second, watching those who are genuinely good at something is always fun. I don’t care what it is, good performers are a wonder. I know nothing about typing but just watch a really fast typist. That is incredible. My knowledge of music is nil but I am no less impressed by the skill of a fine pianist. When Alison was running at her best watching her power through 5×400 in under 60 took my breath away. A few years ago Jane did a 600m breaststroke time-trial in a couple of seconds under 8 minutes. I was supposed to be her coach and stood there asking myself, “How does she do that?” The final 25 meters of a good Rhi Jeffrey 200 was like watching a jet boat rip through the Shotover rapids. Just watch Dick Quax run around Windsor Great Park or John Walker run a mile and you will see what I mean.

Well, let me tell you for nothing, Terenzo Bozzone has the same quality. The first day I watched him swim with Eyad I said, “I can see why you are one of the world’s best triathletes.” That didn’t take a genius to work out. Can John Walker run? Can Oscar Peterson play a piano? Can Nureyev dance? Well Terenzo Bozzone doing triathlon swimming is just as obvious.

What they do is incredible. The other day I timed Terenzo doing a session of long course 10x400s. He said he wanted to descend the set without pushing too hard, with about 30 seconds rest between each 400. Sure enough he started the set at 5.12 and ended it at 4.40 and everyone descended a few seconds. How do they do that? What stopwatch inhabits their brain? I don’t know. The good ones have a knack for making the impossible look ridiculously easy.

Terenzo’s early races on the road to recovery have been pretty good as well. Two triathlon wins in Australia followed by a 7th place in the World Ironman Championships in Spain and a 4th triathlon in Vietnam. He heads-off in a week or so to Cairns for another event before building-up for the Hawaii Ironman later in the year. Terenzo is a class act. He should do well.

So thank you Terenzo for swimming with Eyad occasionally. Thank you on behalf of Eyad for making the distance sessions tougher and easier. And thank you from me for adding to the enjoyment of being at the pool. It’s great to watch good people do good things. And Terenzo certainly fits that description.

PS Don’t tell Eyad I said this but I’m convinced Eyad also has that, impossible to describe, quality. His talent has had a difficult start to life, overcoming the difficulties of being a Syrian training in Saudi Arabia. But he is on the straight and narrow now and I suspect will soon have the critics asking, “Where did he come from?”


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