Young triathletes vie for national medals

Young triathletes vie for national medals

Ivan Nagel

The nation’s top young triathlon and aquathlon superstars have descended on Rockingham this week to compete for a coveted School Sport Australia medal.

Four talented locals were selected to represent WA, and there are hopes that a home soil and crowd advantage will give them a little extra mileage over the coming two days.

Ivan Nagel has been selected as the Triathlon Team Captain.

Southern River’s Ivan Nagel has been named WA’s 2024 Triathlon Team Captain.

The Rehoboth Christian College student is a seasoned professional at the tender age of 17. He has been competing for six years and considers triathlon “a lifestyle” rather than a sport.

“It is such a privilege to be selected to represent School Sport Western Australia as captain and athlete. This is my fifth and final year representing the state with this year being a home championship,” he said.

While he’s just focussing on putting in a ‘good performance’ for his last school sport hurrah, in the back of his mind there’s a secret hope of bringing home the bling.

Representing the WA Triathlon Black team will be Piara Waters legend Matthew Christian.

Matthew Christian exiting the swim leg at Champion Lakes during a triathlon.

The Carey Baptist College student has taken to triathlon like a fish to water, quickly rising to a level that will see him competing against the best in the country.

“I only did my first triathlon at the start of last year. I saw it advertised and just thought it looked like fun,” he said.

“I did ok, then I did a couple more fun ones and the love grew. I soon joined Armadale Triathlon Club and found some new friends there. Huge shout out to my coach, Alex Baron for his ongoing help and support.

“I have been working hard down at AFAC to improve my swimming skills.

“I’m really excited and honoured to be representing WA shortly but also quite nervous. In all honesty, as long as I’m not last, I’ll be happy.”

The younger athletes will compete in Aquathlon (run-swim-run) events.

Hailing from Byford, is 11-year-old Riley Cunnold, who shows an enviable natural talent.

Riley Cunnold only took up the sport last year, but is already competing at a national level.

The Court Grammar School student took up athletics last year with the Byford Little Athletics crew.

The consummate sportsman, he was soon looking for something a little extra to keep his fitness up, and fell in with the Armadale Triathlon Club in September after competing in his first duathlon event.

He competed in the School Sport WA Aquathlon in November last year – his first ever – and did so well he was selected to represent his state at the nationals.

Riley said he is proud to be representing Western Australia.

He is “nervous but excited” to be competing today, but feels as if his training over the past 12 months is starting to pay off.

He’s hoping to push himself and persevere, and for some ‘Personal Bests’ this week.

Lastly, but not leastly, is 11-year-old Madison Lewis from Southern River.

Being selected to represent her state for the first time is a huge honour for Madison Lewis.

The Corpus Christi College student has been swimming competitively since she was seven, and competing in aquathlons over the past two years. She has also participated in a number of triathlons over that time.

But this is her first time being selected to represent Western Australia.

“Madison is incredibly proud to be representing her state and really wants to give it her all and make her state proud,” parents Nat and Steve Lewis said.

“She is very humble and a girl of few words but we can see how much it means to her.”

All students will compete in their individual events today (Thursday) at the Bell Park Foreshore in Rockingham.

And tomorrow, they’ll compete in team relays.

Congratulations to our four local superstars and all the best for the competition.