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UNIS Hanoi Aqua’women’

Our community of supporters inspired UNIS Hanoi staff to join the first Aquaman Vietnam.

Two UNIS Hanoi faculty and staff members Carly Bilke and Lan Anh Nguyen Vu participated in the first aquathlon in Vietnam, Aquaman, at Tra Co Beach, Quang Ninh Province on 2 October. The tournament hosted by VNExpress attracted more than 1000 athletes competing in three different categories. Ms Lan Anh joined the Half Aqua category (1km swimming and 10km running) and Ms Bilke was part of the Sprint Aqua (500m swimming and 5km running).

Ms Bilke has always done triathlons and open water swimming in Australia since her twenties but this is the first time ever that she joined an open water swimming competition in Vietnam. Having fractured her ankle in December 2021, Ms Bilke couldn’t practice for six months but when Mr Phi, UNIS’ PHE teaching assistant, told her about the event and encouraged her to join, she thought this was a good opportunity to train for and get back to her frequent practice. For Ms Lan Anh, Aquaman was a new occasion to test her limits. Open water swimming is not new to her. She had also participated in a triathlon and many running races over the past few years. 

The two colleagues started practicing two months before the event. The swim team has given them a lot of advice about swimming techniques and tactics for open water swimming. Mr Dat, the fitness instructor, also helped them strengthen their health and endurance. “We are lucky to be at UNIS Hanoi and received all the encouragement we needed to have from our amazing colleagues”. Ms Lan Anh and Ms Bilke were ready by the end of September. 

The sea was very rough on the day and it was so crowded when it’s my turn to swim”, Ms Bilke described. “It wasn’t a long swimming distance but many people gave up on the day as it rained the whole day before and it was really windy”, added Ms Lan Anh. Both however enjoyed the running trail where they received a lot of cheerings. Ms Lan Anh finished 21st for women of her category and Ms Bilke won the gold medal for the Sprint Aqua woman. 

“It was such a fun experience and it’s great to get back in competition again”, admitted Ms Bilke. She encourages everyone to try out a sport and join a competition. “It’s good for you physically and mentally”, said Ms Bilke. “Sports don’t only give you health but also teach you the meaning of life!”, Ms Lan Anh determined.

You will definitely see the two UNIS Hanoi Aquawomen at the Vietnam Aquaman next year.