In one of the more grueling and stamina based sports, three Highland triathletes have received scholarships to the Illawarra Academy of Sport (IAS).
Further Related: Highlander youth receives scholarship to Illawarra Academy of Sport
Liam Hinchcliffe is a member of the Highlands Triathlon Club and he couldn’t wait to get to get his start in triathlons, following in his parents footsteps.
“Mum and dad used to do triathlons,” Liam said.
“I was too young to participate but when I got to the right age, 12 years old, I started competing and really enjoyed it.”
Liam knows his strengths and were he has to improve. “I definitely prefer the run part of the triathlon,” Liam said.
“I’m a decent runner but I’m still doing a lot of cycling and swimming training.”
Liam is excited about his scholarship opportunity and the chance to further his development. “I know they can help me with everything that I need to do to become better at the sport,” he said.
“We have Brendon Saxton helping us - he’s a really experienced triathlete and he’s a really good coach.”
Liam has big plans for his sporting career. “I want a future in triathlon,” Liam said.
“I want to try and get to the world championships. That would be a great success for me.
“I do need to improve in the swim and cycle to get up with the more elite competitors, but this scholarship will help me.”
The next 12 months for Liam will be a learning curve, but he’s up to the challenge. “There will be a lot of training over the holidays,” Liam said.
“It will most likely calm down over the school holidays, but we get a lot of information sent to us so we can do some training at home.”
Canberra NSW Junior Series will be Liam’s next race and locally he’ll be participating in Elite Energy Triathlons.
Thomas Jennings, a fellow member of the Highlands Triathlon Club, has competed all over the world and his young athletic career is just getting started.
“A couple of years back, I saw a mini triathlon being advertised down at the beach when I was living in Dubai,” Thomas said.
“Before I got into triathlons I was doing a lot of running and I fell into it from there.”
All the hard work felt like it had paid off for Thomas when he received the scholarship news.
“I was really excited for something new, I’ve never been apart of an academy or a scholarship, it was a really exciting moment,” he said.
The next 12 months are looking intense but Thomas looking forward to it.
“There will be a lot of hard work in the next year,” Thomas said. “I’ve got the inter-school competition coming up and that’s one of my big races for 2019.
“That’s for state and there will be scouts down there so that’s probably the most important date for the year.
“I just want to gain more experience and skill,” Thomas said. “I want more confidence on the bike and swimming that’s my ultimate aim.”
Read Further: Cyclists receive scholarship
Athleticism runs in the family for Joel Offord. “I have older siblings that competed in triathlons,” Joel said.
“The the passion for the sport just came naturally from there.”
Joel knows his strengths, but is looking to expand his game.
“My best leg is the run, but I’m really enjoying the bike at the moment,” he said.
“I was pretty happy when I got news I’d received a scholarship to IAS,” Joel said.
“I do a lot of my training on my own and I want to really work on my bike skills.
“I know Brendon Saxton is really good on the bike, so I’m pretty excited to work with him.”
Joel’s first gig to put his newfound training to the test will be at the Berry camp.
“I then have the Academy Games in April, but before that I have the Canberra Junior Triathlon Series.”
Joel has a main aim within the next 12 months.
“I can’t wait to train with people who are passionate about the sport,” he said.
“I want to continue learning from other athletes and coaches and hope to make some NSW squads and academies.
“I would also like to make the NSW All Schools, I hope to make the top six which would see me making it into the Tri Nationals.”