Australian Age Group Standard champions crowned at Wollongong’s festival of triathlon

21 Apr 2024

Photo Credit: Con Chronis

Following an action-packed day of racing during which the World Triathlon Cup Wollongong was run and won, the festival of triathlon continued in the Illawarra on Sunday as Australian Age Group Standard champions across 13 categories were crowned.

18-year-old Bailey Tuddenham (Ballarat Triathlon Club) took the tape in the men’s Olympic distance claiming the Australian title in the 15-19 Age Group. Tuddenham obliterated his competitors, finishing in a time of 1 hour 53 minutes and 04 seconds, which was more than three minutes ahead of his nearest rival.

“The boys made me work for it, but it was a good day out,” Tuddenham said.

“Under my coach Tim Reed – I couldn’t have done it without him – we decided to swim in the pack and hit the bike pretty hard, see if we could get a gap which we did and then held on for dear life in the run and it paid off in the end,” he said.

The Ballarat teenager was impressed by Wollongong and the undulating course.

“It’s an amazing place. The course was interesting it was technical, it was good. Really enjoyed it,” he said.

In a family affair, Bailey’s mother Emma Tuddenham won silver in the women’s 35-39 age group while grandfather Brett O’Neill won bronze in the men’s 60-64 age group.

Competing in her first triathlon over an Olympic distance, Natalie Morgan (Trivelo Coaching) claimed the Australian title in the women’s 20-24 age group in a convincing 2 hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds, which was more than eight minutes ahead of the second placed competitor.

Incredibly, Morgan only stepped up her training in the last two weeks having previously focused on the sprint distance.

“I wasn’t really sure how I’d go or how I’d feel but it was definitely harder than I expected,” Morgan said.

“I didn’t realise I was in first until they said it as I ran across (the line) because I had no idea who was around me. It was actually really cool.

“I’ve only been training for it for the last couple of weeks otherwise I’ve just done sprint and only for a couple of years, I actually really enjoyed it. Plenty hard with all the hills but other than that it was pretty good,” she said.

With a background in soccer, Morgan is still finding her feet in the sport.

“I only started two years’ ago. I switched over because of injuries and I didn’t have many goals when I started. I enjoyed biking, had never swam before and never ran much other than soccer.

“I want to see where I go with it, I’m really enjoying my training right now and I feel like I’m in a good spot for it, I have to see where the next year takes me,” she said.

It took Morgan and her family two days to drive from their home in Berwick, Victoria, and she was pleased they made the journey to Wollongong.

“It’s my first time in Wollongong. It’s nice we race so close to the beach. The road was super smooth it’s probably the smoothest bike course I’ve been on,” she said.

ACT competitor Georgie Hicks (JT Multisport) celebrated her third podium result in as many weeks when she crossed the line in third place in the women’s 30-34 age group.

“I feel so good. Honestly, it was a hard race and I just put everything out there and I’m racing around on a road bike and I’m just trying to hold onto people as much as I can,” Hicks said.

“Then the sun came up and it got hotter and I thought, I’ve got to focus on the finish line and I’m so glad to be done and to finish strong,” she said.

The result in Wollongong caps off a month of strong racing for Hicks, with wins at the Nepean super sprint and Tour de Brisbane duathlon.

“I decided to finish the season here doing the standard, it was a nice way to finish it off and I’m so happy with how everything’s gone.

“My next big thing is going to Townsville for the Multisport Age Group World Championships, so doing the sprint and standard duathlon there and the aquathon.

“I’ve only passed through (Wollongong) a couple of times before and this is the first time that I’ve stopped and appreciated it. The beach, the coast, the lighthouse everything is beautiful. I was walking around yesterday thinking I could live here. It’s so nice.

“I’d love to come back here next year for the triathlons,” Hicks concluded.

Congratulations to the 2024 Australian Age Group Standard Champions

Age Group Men Women
15-19 Bailey Tuddenham Grace Kells
20-24 Kester McQueen Natalie Morgan
25-29 Michael Cappadona Megan Chapple
30-34 Thomas Kearns Katie Remond
35-39 Luke Jones Angela Sandral
40-44 Travis Shields Lisa Marangon
45-49 Nathan Stewart Nicole Ward
50-54 Troy Collins Nicky Western
55-59 Mark Clough Chris Ryan
60-64 Philip Bird Marion Hermitage
65-69 David McEwan Kim Elvery
70-74 Robert Picken Jillian Wisbey
75-79 Kerry Dowling Shirley Rolston

Full results are available via the Multisport website

The 2024 World Triathlon Cup Wollongong is supported proudly by the NSW Government through Destination NSW in collaboration with Wollongong City Council in a landmark three-year partnership that will bring World Triathlon racing to Wollongong until 2026.

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