“My goal, before I retire, was to get these three,” Hancock said. “I didn’t mind what year. But to do it all in nine months, I’m speechless.”
The 23-year-old new queen of the surf and sand said her desire to make her family smile again after the death of her grandfather, and a chance meeting with some little fans, had inspired her 3hr 20min 42sec victory over perennial podium placegetter Liz Pluimers and three-time winner Hayley Bateup.
Eckstein said glandular fever in the off-season had forced him to allow his body to rest. And yesterday the 25-year-old, who said in the lead-up he felt “better than ever” claimed his fifth win from five attempts in the 46.6km men’s race.
But the Queenslander, who said nerves had prevented him from sleeping the night before the race, said his fifth victory, made more difficult by strong headwinds, had been his toughest.
“I only did seven weeks when usually I do 14 to 16 weeks,” he said. “Luckily it worked out but I only got about 45 minutes’ sleep last night.”