Deegan to make World Triathlon Cup debut in Chengdu

24 Apr 2024

Two-and-a-half years ago, Chris Deegan had never competed in an elite triathlon. This weekend, he’ll make his World Triathlon Cup debut in Chengdu, China.

The 28-year-old is one of many athletes emerging from the National Talent Transfer Program – a program facilitated by the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) in partnership with AusTriathlon aimed at identifying, recruiting and fast-tracking athletes whose unique skillsets could translate to success in elite triathlon.

With a start in competitive swimming at the age of nine, Deegan quickly found his passion in the 10km open water events. Even as he excelled in the water, he dabbled in other sports like athletics during his school years, but it was evident that his true calling lay in swimming.

He completed his studies in Canada at the University of Victoria in British Columbia where he also swam for their team.

The transition to triathlon was sparked by a desire to explore new athletic avenues and push his body to its limits.

“Having done a bit of running at school, triathlon was always in the back of my mind,” Deegan said.

“I wanted to see what my body could do, and I felt like I had given what I could to my swimming.”

Deegan had the opportunity to train with AusTriathlon’s High Performance Program on the Gold Coast, before connecting with National Talent Transfer Program Head Coach, Jarrod Evans, leading to discussions about his suitability for the program.

“I knew that if I was going to develop quickly as a triathlete, there was no better opportunity than getting some guidance that would consolidate my strengths and improve in areas that I had room to.” Deegan said.

“I hadn’t had an opportunity like that before.”

As a scholarship athlete, Deegan has access to all VIS facilities including strength and conditioning training, nutritional support, sports medicine, sports psychology, support for life outside sport, sport science and physical therapies.

“Having comprehensive support across areas that aren’t just training related has allowed me to improve consistency and become a more well-rounded triathlete,” Deegan said.

“There’s a lot that goes on in the hours between training sessions that is just important to get right, and I have only been able to do that with the help of the VIS staff in both a physical and mental capacity. “

Deegan kicked off the year with an number of impressive performances, clinching his first gold medal at the 2024 Asia Triathlon Cup in Putrajaya in February, and surging to an impressive seventh-place finish at this month’s Oceania Triathlon Championships in Taupo.

Now he’ll step up to the World Triathlon Cup level alongside fellow Australian’s Kurt Wesley and Luke Bate.

He said this weekend’s race feels like a great opportunity to demonstrate the work he, and his team, has put in.

“They showed faith in my ability to progress to this level from relative obscurity a couple of years ago. I know I had a lot of things to fix up, and I’m still improving, but without their tireless efforts I wouldn’t have come this far,” Deegan said.

“It’ll be a thrill to toe the line with some of the best at a World Cup event, and the importance of representing Australia in the spirit of competition at any World Triathlon event is something I appreciate deeply.

“I hope to show who I am as a competitor. I know the World Cup circuit is a new challenge for me, but I will be prepared. As always, I will have an open mind to absorbing what I can from the race to educate myself on how to get closer to my best.”

Other athletes are involved in the National Talent Transfer Program alongside Deegan.

Former-swimmer Isla Watson secured a pair of silver medals at the Oceania Triathlon Junior Championships and Oceania Triathlon Junior Mixed Relay Championships in Napier as part of Team Australia. She also clinched third place in the Australian Junior Championships in Wollongong and is on the Long List for selection to the Australian Team for this year’s Junior World Championships in Spain.

Kiara Mooney, with a background in swimming and surf life saving, also competed at the Championships in Napier alongside Watson.

Zoe Clarke and Clare Spicknall, who joined the program with a background in surf life saving, have both also made significant strides in triathlon. Clarke’s accomplishments include securing gold at the 2023 Asia Triathlon Cup Kota Kinabalu, while Spicknall triumphed in the 2024 Wollongong Aquathon.

Find out more about the National Talent Transfer Program at

World Triathlon Cup Chengdu – Elite Men
Monday, April 29, 1:35 PM AEST

Kurt Wesley
Luke Bate
Chris Deegan

Full Start List


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