Brooke Bishop is a tetrathlete, modern pentathlete and triathlete, based in in Western Australia. When you combine all three of these sports, you have: swimming – short and middle distance, running – middle distance and long distance, fencing, shooting, cycling and show jumping! Brooke has competed for Australia nationally and internationally in tetrathlon and modern pentathlon and recently took up triathlon after her plans to pursue pentathlon professionally were put to an abrupt hold by the pandemic.
She now aims to compete for Australia in her third sport, triathlon, and she also enjoys teaching sports to children. The word multi-talented certainly springs to mind!
Hi, I’m Brooke, I am 23 and live in a small country town in Western Australia. Growing up, I was given the opportunity to try a lot of different sports. By high school I dedicated most of my time to horse riding, which then lead me to get into tetrathlon.
I have always had a love for running and horse riding, so it seemed like the best sport for me to pursue. I could combine these two with swimming and shooting, which I also enjoyed.
I have attended high performance training camps with the Australian Institute of Sport and competed at national competitions. I picked up a Bronze Medal in 2018 and Silver Medal at Nationals in 2019. When covid came, my plans had to change, and I ended up taking up triathlon.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES A TETRATHLON EVENT INVOLVE?
Tetrathlon involves running, swimming, laser pistol shooting and show jumping. The distances for a standard event are a lot shorter than a triathlon, but they are a higher intensity and faster too. The swim is 200m and the goal time is 2:30 for national and international competitions. There is a 3km cross country style run – the optimum time is 11:30, and for every second you go under, you gain 4 points and every second you go over, you lose 4 points. You start off with 1000 points for the run in total.
The shooting varies from country to country. In Australia, we use a laser pistol at 10m and have a single hand shot, with 10 shots based on points, which are all added up again. The show jumping is the equestrian element and when competing overseas, you don’t have your own horse. So, you basically draw a name out of a hat and are given your horse from a pool of horses! So, part of the skill is competing on an unknown horse and handling him or her well. You can watch the owner ride the horse and chat with them prior, then just have 20 minutes to warm up and have to jump on and not knock over any poles! All the points are added up from the different events and the athlete with the most overall wins.
Modern pentathlon, on the other hand, has entirely different distances. There is a 200m swim, fence, show jumping, and a run / shoot, which consists of 4 rounds of an 800m run and 5 shots. As you can imagine, there is a lot of gear – it can be a nightmare to travel with it all!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR TRANSITION FROM TETRATHLON TO MODERN PENTATHLON AND THEN TO TRIATHLON
After only a year in tetrathlon, I had won the State Championships and gone on to compete nationally and internationally. I then picked up the sport of fencing, which, with the four sports of Tetrathlon, made up Modern Pentathlon.
After doing tetrathlon for 5 years and modern pentathlon for 2 years, covid came and it was harder to travel and compete. I had planned on some international trips in 2020, but the pandemic put a spanner in the works.
I had done a triathlon for fun at school in Year 7 or 8 and hadn’t done one since. There was a local club race on, so I borrowed a bike and ended up really enjoying it. After this, I decided to buy a bike and have since done many more races!
HOW DID the pandemic AFFECT YOUR SPORT?
Unfortunately, when Covid hit, tetrathlon and pentathlon training and competitions were really put on hold. Since tetrathlon and modern pentathlon are smaller sports in Australia, you often need to travel to train and compete.
So, I decided to buy a bike, as I hadn’t owned one since primary school, and join the local triathlon club. I tried out the amazing sport of triathlon and now love it.
WAS IT DIFFICULT TO ADAPT AND CHANGE SPORTS?
I struggled to begin with, as all I wanted to do was represent Australia again and that had been my goal for Modern Pentathlon. At the start, being forced to change definitely hit hard. However, getting into triathlon, was a good way to distract myself from the disappointment, and if covid hadn’t come, then I may never have tried it. So, there was a downside, but also a good side!
I don’t think I’ll go back to Modern Pentathlon at the level and intensity I was at, but I may do some competitions for fun. I still have all my equipment and now coach kids who are interested in tetrathlon and pentathlon. I have coached horse riding for numerous years now too and I also teach swimming, so I am still involved in each of the disciplines! I love helping the little ones who are coming up and who feel inspired by what I did, and now wish to compete too.
WHAT ARE YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS?
The long-term goal is to represent Australia again, but in triathlon this time! My focus for the next 6 months, however, is on completing my teaching degree.
I have future goals of completing in an Ironman 70.3 and then, who knows, maybe even a full Ironman one day. At the moment, I am just enjoying Sprint and Olympic distance races.
I am also currently training for the 19.7km Rottnest Channel Swim in a duo, plus a few half marathons.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR PEOPLE TRAINING FOR MULTIDISCPlINARY SPORTS?
The biggest thing is having a schedule and making sure you have the time to put into it. Also, focus on your weakness. For example, swimming was my weakness, so I had to focus on getting stronger at that discipline.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE BINDI?
I was volunteering at Busselton 70.3 a few years ago and came across Bindi. I had tried a few electrolyte drinks before and found them too strong to stomach, so I bought some of the Bindi products to try out, and they went down really well. It is also awesome to have a nutrition brand based in WA!