Hamilton triathlete Lorcan Redmond overcame team tactics from interstate competitors and bridged a one-minute gap in the final leg of last month’s School Sport Australia Triathlon Championships (SSATC) to claim a fifth-straight title.
The 17-year-old went into the race, held at Penrith in late April, in blistering form having won the Oceania Championships a few weeks earlier in New Zealand.
However, Redmond said his preparation for the SSATC wasn’t as intense as usual.
“It’s kind of the last race of my domestic season,” he said. “It’s the School Sport Championships, so I don’t go in their fully prepared.
“I had the Oceania champs beforehand and had a little down time before then, so I just went along and enjoyed the company of all the boys I know.”
The Newcastle Grammar School student was surprised how the race unfolded.
“It was fairly uneventful the swim, I just hopped out,” he said.
“But then there was a 20km bike ride and there was four Queenslanders who solely went in with the intention of riding really hard with team tactics, trying to get one of their boys to win the race.
“So I was kind of left in no-man’s land behind those boys and another big bunch behind me. They had a minute lead on us and the run’s 5kms, so I just hopped off [the bike] and ran really hard. I ended up beating them by about 20 seconds.”
The fifth title is likely a record, as 2012 London Olympic triathlete Courtney Atkinson and recent Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Matt Hauser, had won the event only four times each.
After his earlier win in New Zealand, Redmond is Australia’s sole under-19’s automatic qualifier for the September World Championships on the Gold Coast. The victory made his preparation for the Gold Coast easier, but it was a win that didn’t come easily.
“It’s fantastic to book the spot,” he said. “Last year I didn't end up winning the Oceania champs and there’s three spots… the other two are discretionary, so that’s up to the selectors and they don’t find out until July.
““It wasn’t the best lead in though, because we flew into Auckland and were delayed overnight. We arrived in New Plymouth about 4pm the day before the race and I opened up my bike bag and my bike had a massive crack in the frame.”
Redmond managed to get a local cycling shop to lend him a bike for the race and eventually won the event.
It’s a massive effort given the amount of time he spends on his custom-fitted bike each week, but he played down the “subtle differences” as just a minor challenge.
Each week in training, he completes 70km running, 30km swimming, 200km cycling and a few gym sessions.
An incredible commitment for someone during their HSC, but Redmond has his sights set on making a career out of the sport. Although, he says he’ll study after school to ensure he’s got something to fall back on.
Redmond said his school have been fantastic in letting him juggle his pursuits. He came 22nd at the world champs last year and hopes to win September’s race.