DESPITE battling foot injuries and torrid conditions at Bendigo’s Crusoe Reservoir, Orange’s Lauren Kerwick produced a stunning performance to take home two silver medals from last week’s School Sport Australia triathlon championships.
Kerwick pushed through the pain of a tendon tear and an os naviculare - an abnormal bone growth - in her foot to secure silver in the intermediate girls’ (15-16 years) sprint and relay events.
The 14-year-old upstaged her older competitors in the individual event, finished the 600m, 14 kilometre ride and 4km run in 57 minutes and 28 seconds, finishing second to 16-year-old Kira Hedgeland, of Western Australia.
Despite her name being synonymous with Orange swimming, Kerwick explained her cycle leg almost secured her gold.
“I came out of the water fourth, “ she explained.
“But I made up plenty of ground in the cycle.”
On a slippery course, with repeating hairpin turns, Kerwick clocked a race fastest 31.14 in the second leg of the race to enter the final leg with a two-second lead. Hedgeland diminished the deficit, and pulled ahead to take gold.
“My cycle was my best leg, Kira was just a bit quick for me in the run,” Kerwick said.
Each team member is required to compete in one leg of the relay event, and Kerwick’s second mammoth ride of the championship had NSW poised to take gold, before relinquishing its 47-second lead to Western Australia in the final leg.
“It was all very exciting,” Kerwick said.
“I never expected to do so well, especially with the injuries, but I took them in so I just had to race with them.”
Orange’s Conor Whiteley also competed at the championships, and finished 21st in the boys’ intermediate sprint despite a controversial two-minute penalty for drafting.