For years Orange High phenom Lauren Kerwick has dominated at the district, regional, state and national levels, but now with her HSC done and dusted and her glittering high school career coming to an end she’s started thinking about the future – the next step, if you will.
She’s got big plans too, she’s not done as a triathlete that’s for sure.
Kerwick finished her school career in style this year, skippering NSW and winning gold at the state titles and claiming a national championship alongside Kinross’ Connor Whiteley before being presented a NSW Blue award last week.
For those playing at home, a Blue is the highest honour possible for secondary student-athletes, and recognises outstanding performances throughout high school careers.
But now, the 17-year-old says her graduation into Triathlon NSW’s senior ranks is looming and the lure of turning professional and potentially training with some of the nation’s best has started moving into the forefront of her mind.
“It’s been great, I really am incredible grateful to have had the opportunities I have (at school) because I know so many people don’t get them, and I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of people,” Kerwick, typically humble, said.
“My parents especially, my coaches, and my sponsors at Pigot Miller Wilson, it’s a costly sport and they’ve been amazing for me so far.
“The end goal is definitely to be a professional athlete, I’d love nothing more.
“It is a bit daunting thinking about [moving into seniors full-time]. I do wonder how I’ll cope with work, or study, or outside influences but I’ve had this as a goal and a dream since I was about five, so I think that will overpower anything else.”
She did explain she has plenty of racing left to do before that shift though, at 17 Kerwick has one year left as a junior and she plans to make the most of it.
“I do have one year left, so I’ll look to do a lot of the Australian races,” Kerwick, fresh off winning two Triathlon NSW ITU Junior Super Sprint Championships, said.
That starts at Queensland’s Runaway Bay next month, where she’ll don NSW colours in the Australian ITU Junior Super Sprint Series.
“I don’t really have many expectations for that, I eased off my training a bit during the HSC so I am a little bit unfit at the moment,” she laughed.
“But (next year) I’m aiming to get my professional licence, that’s all about making certain times and doing a lot of racing around the country and I’d like to go to New Zealand and do some as well. Those races can be against the best, Olympians, so it’s tough.
“The Commonwealth Games is definitely a goal as well. Not at the Gold Coast next year, I’m a bit young although I did get the chance to race on the course which was cool, and maybe not even in four more years but it’s definitely a goal.”
Of course, there’s life outside triathlon as well which, in many ways, ties in perfectly with the sport.
“I’ve already got early entry to Wollongong University to study psychology, but I’ve applied to other universities too and I might still defer for a year, start working and get myself settled a bit,” Kerwick, also a member of HyPER Hy Performance Endurance Racing, explained.
“But as I said I’d love to be a professional, and psychology comes into that a lot with the pressures of racing and that sort of thing so I’m interested in sports psyche, I think it could really help.
“I’d love to train with the Wollongong Wizards too, they’re basically the best of the best.
“But we’ll see how we go, it’s all pretty exciting.”
* This article was written by Matt Findlay and first appeared in the Central West Daily