After sitting in line for the best of two hours my name booms out over the speaker system. I’m number 153. I edge forwards. Two marshals print my number on either arm and the backs of both legs, then give me a push poolside. I line up with the rest of my heat.
The countdown begins, the crowd goes silent. I focus on the water. Bang! 24 athletes launch themselves through the air. It’s a sprawling mess; 4 to a lane, water whipped into foam, men jostling for prime position. The building resonates with the roar of a crowd gone wild. First length down and bodies spin round crashing into bodies – by some freak miracle no one is hurt.
After swimming 200m, you’re out on the road for a 1500m run, then back in the pool again for the final 200m. Compounded by the altitude, its 11minutes of agony – 100% worth the effort though.
After the event competitors mingle, enjoy the live music and soak in the sun. Athletes from all over Ecuador have travelled to be here. I finished a credible 8th in my category.