MEET a group of budding triathletes set to take the 2013 NSW All Schools triathlon by storm.
Tom Kotzur, Luke Chalker, Alex McKay, Kyle Ostini, Sam Bellamy, Jack Bilton, Connor Whiteley, Kelsea Bellamy and Lauren Kerwick will today take to Penrith’s International Regatta Centre with one eye on national selection.
Part of former professional triathlete Melissa Ashton-Gerard’s HyPER Hy Performance Endurance Racing team, the nine young guns are expected to make waves at the event.
“I think, I don’t want to put pressure on the kids, but they’ve been training hard all over winter,” Ashton-Gerard said.
“I’m quite excited about their prospects.”
The 2013 NSW All Schools triathlon will begin today with the individual events - the 400m swim, 10km ride 3km run juniors event, the 500m swim, 15km ride, 4km run intermediates and the 750m swim, 20km ride, 5km run seniors - before wrapping up with the teams triathlon tomorrow.
Kinross seniors Chalker and McKay will lead the group to Penrith while Ostini will compete in the intermediate class and Bilton and Whiteley will take part in the junior boys with Kerwick and Kelsea Bellamy the junior girls.
Illness in the lead-up to the All Schools event will mean Kotzur competes solely in the teams triathlon while injury will sideline Sam Bellamy completely.
Aiming for a top six finish and the subsequent selection in the NSW All Schools squad set to compete in nationals, Chalker was looking forward to the sprint distance triathlon.
He said the flat, undulating Penrith regatta centre will make for a fast event.
“I came fourth in the intermediates last year,” Chalker said.
“I’ve raced a few of these guys before, we’ll see what happens.”
Also gunning for nationals selection, Ostini added: “There’s no challenges, it’s all flat. The competition from the Central Coast and Sydney will make it tough, but the triathletes from the country are getting stronger too.”
Mentor Ashton-Gerard agreed.
She said the standard within the HyPER group had increased immeasurably since it began meeting last year.
“This group’s not about being world champion or anything like that, it’s about trying to instil a good work ethic and enjoyment of the sport while also building a foundation as they get older and stronger,” she said.
“Hopefully they’ll continue on with the sport and keep improving.
“I think they’ll go well.”
Ashton-Gerard said she enjoyed working with junior triathletes because they weren’t set in their ways and were capable of learning.
Both juniors Bilton and Whiteley are a perfect example of both.
Whiteley said he was hoping to “significantly improve” on last year’s result while Bilton wanted a top 15 berth.
“I’m expecting a big crowd and I’m competing because I want to do well and I’ve been training really hard,” Bilton added.
The 2013 NSW All Schools begins today.