Updated: Nov 06, 2022 03:11 PM
Tyler Smith (File photograph)
Tyler Smith was left to ponder what might have been after his homecoming at the World Triathlon Series Bermuda ended in disaster.
The 24-year-old pulled out of the event early on the second lap of the 1,500 metre swim after suffering with anxiety and trouble with breathing..
“I had breathing difficulties and actually a bit of a panic attack,” Smith told The Royal Gazette.
“It was rough and I just got held under for a while and you end up taking on so much water that it’s really hard to recover and get the breathing back under control.
“I don’t know if it was coming out or getting back in that added to the disorientation. I was just moving backwards and could not really tell up from down or left from right or where I really had to go on the second lap, so it was almost instinctive just to go in the back and try to look for what was happening.
“It’s just one of the worst feelings when you can’t breathe and just sends you into a bit of a fear. It’s a big disappointment for me obviously.
“It’s one of the worst-case scenarios and embarrassing as for me. This is what I devote my life to and to line up for a two-hour race and only do ten minutes of a swim is shocking pretty much.”
Smith expressed his gratitude to family and friends for their support and has vowed to come back stronger.
“For how many family and friends that were out here to see me and all the well wishes and stuff like that, it certainly stings not to be able to even complete a leg of the event,” he added. “But I really appreciate that a lot of those people support me almost unconditionally and this is one that will add fuel to the fire.”
Smith has been blighted by injuries this yea and considered calling an end to his season but could not pass up the opportunity to compete on home soil.
“Almost the last 13 -14 months have been real rough for me,” he said. “It’s tough but then you look around at some of the guys that are racing here and you realise there’s no reason I can’t do what these guys are doing.
“They are great athletes but they’re not doing anything that’s impossible. They just have a very refined approach and a very solid strategy and I know I can get to that level. I just have to be real honest with myself with what I need to do and probably make some pretty significant changes if I want to continue to improve.
“I need to figure out what went wrong and how to address that. It’s a learning curve and I know I have got work to do over the winter, and whether or not I continue my season is something that I need to think about over the next 24 hours.
“I’m just looking forward to trying to get my body and mind in a good place to get back racing.”
Smith hopes to get another shot to compete at this level on home soil.
“I don’t know if we are having this race again,” he added. “I would love that and feel I just want a shot at redemption, but maybe my redemption comes in Paris at the Olympics.”