The Panthers Triathlon Club was originally called the Nepean Triathlon Club. Original members included Rod Rogers, Greg Chapman, Sam Scutts, Warwick Brennan, Jim Prendergast, Mark Wallace, Tim McKay, Danny Marshall, Dave Boreham, Steve Taite and John Ross.
The Nepean Club held races in the early 1980s at Tench Reserve on the Nepean River at Penrith, with bikes propped up against fences or whatever else was around.
Who could forget the sight of a 12-year-old Dave Richardson racing the oldies with his DH bars (when no one else had them), and Mrs Taite putting out the cups of water on her fence in River Road for the run leg drink?
Timing of the races was carried out by Ron Richardson, who worked out a spreadsheet to do the calculations before anyone even knew what a spreadsheet was.
As more people joined we decided to get serious and the Panthers Triathlon Club was formed. Racing still took place at Tench Reserve as well as at the original Lakes Development at Castlereagh. At one stage, Ron Denovan, a club member who worked at Pioneer Quarries, arranged us to have the run leg within the quarries and I remember it was like running on the moon, with its heaps of gravel and desolate landscape.
Tim McKay was the one to beat in those days, although Alan Bentley was always up front in the swim leg and juniors such as Brian Lang (and later Trent Chapman) started to make people take notice. We also gained a few lady members – one of the guns was Wendy Sharpe who gained a podium finish in one of the early Nepean triathlons. We also held duathlons at Smith Park at Castlereagh and moved to different lakes within the Lakes Development as they were opened.
Panthers Tri Club has continued to grow and develop – at present the Club’s membership is approximately 400 active members. Racing is held the International Regatta Centre, home of the rowing, kayaking and whitewater events in the 2000 Olympics, with the Handicap run every Tuesday evening during Daylight Savings still held at Tench Reserve at the Nepean River.
The current life members of Panthers Triathlon Club are:
- Rod Rogers (deceased)
- Greg Chapman
- Ron Richardson (deceased)
- Cheryl Hoogenboom
- Warwick Brennan
- Gordon Bell
- Jim Prendergast
- Rob George (deceased)
- Dave Richardson
- Margaret George
- Dan Marshall
- Blanche Richardson