Sydney’s rising triathlon star Matilda Offord had coach Liam O’Neill’s words ringing in her ears as she rode into transition before sprinting away to record her second win of the year in today’s Mooloolaba Triathlon Oceania Cup.
And like Lorcan Redmond before her, Offord too claimed the first of two automatic Under 23 Australian team selections for the Abu Dhabi World Championships, with the other going to the ACT’s fifth placed Ellie Hoitink.
Two weeks ago at the Devonport Oceania Cup (Sprint Distance) the 23-year-old from Cobbitty near Camden (southwest of Sydney) took it easy as she entered the T2 transition in last place before running away with her first Elite win.
But O’Neill, the newly appointed Head Coach at the NSW Performance Centre, wasn’t happy and when asked what she was doing riding in last and Offord admitted she was “having rest.”
Offord, who is quickly making a name for herself as one of a new breed of young women in the sport, heeded O’Neill’s words of advice.
And as they say there was “no rest for the wicked” today over the Olympic Distance (1.5km swim; 40km bike and 10km run) course.
“Liam gave me ‘a razz’ after Devonport for getting into T2 last so I made a conscious effort to make sure I came into transition first and out first, letting the (other) girls know that here’s the gauntlet and to come and get me.
“I came here just to get that Under 23 spot for Worlds and Liam just said wherever you fall going into the run just give it a go.
“I hit the lead from the start and Ellie (Hoitink) ran up to my shoulder over the first hill.
“I made a move about five kilometres out and was able to run within myself and just keep that gap.
“It was just all about grabbing that automatic spot and you can’t ask for more than that and I’m a bit shocked to be honest.
“The Olympic distance is really new to me, coming off my Sprint distance win in Devonport, it’s still a little bit uncomfortable, the more you do the better you’ll get, so I’m just embracing the longer distance and the pain...”
There were also impressive performances from experienced Elites, former training partners Charlotte McShane and Natalie Van Coevorden, who finished second and third respectively, charging home in the run.
The pair have both set their sights on the Gold Coast Triathlon automatic Commonwealth Games nomination race on April 3, with McShane saying it was nice to have Nat “the pacing queen” back home.
“That was my first proper Olympic Distance for four years, going back to 2018, the first time I’ve been fit enough to race it....but you have to be ready at some point,” said McShane.
“I knew I was fit enough after chasing fitness from injury after injury, although the run was comfortable I was nervous with my pacing and maybe I could have gone a little bit harder, earlier in the run but it was still a good result.
“I’m aiming towards April 3 and dropping down to the Sprint will be nice but I want to swim well because I need to be there at the beginning of the run to make a difference.”
Van Coevorden, home from her European training and competition bases for the first time in 21 months said she knew what she wanted to do.
“Leading out of the swim was my tactic and to see if I could hold on but it turned in to a bit of a running race,” said Van Coevorden.
“But considering all things I’m happy to be in this kind of shape at this time of the year.
“I’ve built that endurance into my training and the consistency with not being injured. I’m happy with how it turned out and happy with third.
“I just wish I had another 200 metres at the end...I think I had a bit more in me in the run.”
For full results, visit the Mooloolaba Triathlon website here.
Read about the Elite Men's racing action and Lorcan Redmond's breakthrough for his first elite victory here.