An intensive ten-day training camp on the Gold Coast had emerging Hervey Bay triathlete Matt Hauser primed for a successful defence of his OTU Oceania Championship at Penrith today.
Hauser, who dominated round one of the Australian Junior Series at Runaway Bay in December, joined Dan Atkins’s Gold Coast Performance squad and he has no doubts it played a major part in his win.
The luckless Hauser, who broke his collarbone last year, robbing him of a place on the Youth Olympic and World Championship teams, is back better than ever chasing a place on the Australian team for this year’s ITU World Junior Championships in Chicago.
And to win back-to-back Australian Junior Series races has the 17-year-old well and truly on the way.
“To get the chance to train alongside World Championship bronze medallist Calvin Quirk and the rest of the squad at the AIS facility was a major plus,” said Hauser, who powered away from fellow National Talent Academy athlete, Quirk (QLD) to take today’s race by 11 seconds with New Zealand’s Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Daniel Hoy pipping the NTA’s Matt Roberts (QLD) for third.
“For my own home coach Brian Harrington and myself to be able to take full advantage of what is on offer on the Gold Coast really enabled me to go up a notch in my training.
“Then to be able to put that into practice today was awesome – it was a great race, I couldn’t be happier at where I’m at.”
But Hauser admitted he didn’t have the best of starts in the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run course and he had to play catch up on the swim and ensure he was positioned on the bike, before unleashing on the flat, fast run course.
“I didn’t have the best of starts and got stuck in the swim but managed to get onto the pack for the bike and made sure I was well placed coming into the transition onto the run,” said Hauser, who reveled in the hot, humid conditions that saw temperatures reach 30 degrees and 28 degrees in the water.
“I expected the Kiwi boys to be hurting on the run because of the conditions and coming from Hervey Bay and doing that training on the Gold Coast I was feeling pretty comfortable.
“But I knew the boys would all be pushing hard and it would be a tough race to the finish.”
The women’s race saw WA’s ITU World Championship team member and Australian Junior Series runner-up from last year, Kira Hedgeland back in the saddle after a stress fracture in her shin.
Hedgeland, who broke through for some outstanding results in 2014, proved too strong for round one winner and fellow World Championship team mate Sophie Malowiecki with training partner Dimi Coventry third.
“It was tough sitting back watching the opening round of the Series at Runaway Bay last month but there is no doubt it was for the better,” said Hedgeland, who has been on the Gold Coast training alongside 2014 National Junior Champion Jaz and under coach Atkins since December 1.
“I suffered no ill-effects in the run at all and I have pulled up really well. I actually felt good right throughout the whole race.
“The stress fracture prevented me from running hard and I just had to take things easy and did a lot of walking.”
All-in-all five members of Australia’s National Talent Academy Squad Hauser, Quirk, Roberts, Hedgeland and Malowiecki figured in today’s finishes.
Meanwhile in the Youth races it was Super Sprint winners from round one; Samantha Witting (QLD) and Lorcan Redmond (NSW) who backed up their performances to chalk up back-to-back wins.
Whitting (45 mins 59secs) proved too strong for the ACT’s Ellie Hoitink (46:06) with Bree Thistlewait (46.34) third.
Redmond (41.51) won an all Australian finish from Elliot Schultz (42:10) and Lachlan Twyford (42.23).
The Trans Tasman Junior Teams Challenge saw Queensland 1 – (Sophie Malowiecki Dimi Coventry and Elle Leahy) 19 pts beat NEW ZEALAND 28points; VICTORIA – 42points; ACT – 51points; NSW – 57points; QLD 2 – 65points and NZL 2 – 69pointsIn the Junior Men it was NSW (Nathan Breen, Caleb Agostino-Morrow, Sam Lewis and Brady Goodyear) 61points who proved too strong for WA/SA – 98points; 3rd ACT A – 105points; 4th VIC/TAS A – 106points 5th NZL 2 – 122points
Full Results Here>>
Photo credit: Keith Hedgeland Photography