From the South Island winter to the world stage.
Mount Hutt College year 11 triathlete Brea Roderick has plenty to look forward to as she prepares for two major international races in September and October.
“I am racing in the Junior Elite World Championships on the Gold Coast in mid-September and then I am going to the Youth Olympics in Argentina in October, so there is not much of a gap in between,” she explains.
16 year-old Brea will be joined by two other females at the Junior World Championships, Hannah Knighton (Waikato Dio, 2017) and Ari Graham (St Andrew’s College, 2016) as well as three males in the six-strong New Zealand team.
One of the males going to the World Championships is Dylan McCullough who is also joining her at the Youth Olympics. McCullough is year 13 age but left school at Saint Kentigern College at the end of last year. Another is Saxon Morgan who is from Christchurch (St Andrew’s College) and whom Brea knows well and is currently training and racing in Europe.
“Right now I am training every morning and every afternoon,” Brea says.
“It’s pretty cold here at the moment, but we have indoor trainers and treadmills to use if it’s raining or snowing so it works out okay in the end!”
For swimming she trains in a local indoor 25-metre pool.
She goes to school in Methven, which is well known as the gateway to the Mount Hutt ski field and in peak season right now. “I used to ski, but there is too much risk of injury,” she says.
Down at sea level, Brea has been buoyed by her success from earlier this year.
“Earlier this year I went to Adelaide, in the Australian Junior series and I did quite well at that.
She was part of the New Zealand team which placed first at the Australian U19 Mixed Team Relay championship.
“Then the main race that was the qualifier for the Youth Olympics was in New Plymouth, and that was also the qualifier for the World Champs.” She finished second, but was the first junior female New Zealander home.
She had no expectations in qualifying for these two international events.
“That was a big shock to me, I had no clue that was going to happen.
“I had no idea how I was going to go because I had never really raced in that age group before, against that many girls.”
Prior to that race at the end of March, she won the South Island Secondary School Triathlon Championships and finished second at the New Zealand Secondary School Nationals in the U16 division.
How did Brea start triathlon?
“I started about three years ago, and started it taking it seriously about a year later after winning some races. I started training and focusing on that as my main sport and I took it from there.”
She also swims, runs and bikes in individual events, but these are always with a view towards training and building up her race fitness for triathlons.
For example, she finished second in the U18 race at the South Island Cross Country Championships at the start of this month.
Brea is fortunate to know New Zealand’s elite number one triathlete Andrea Hewitt, also from Canterbury.
“It has been really awesome to get to train with her in the past. We have been very lucky to learn off her and train with her when she has been in Christchurch.”
Brea isn’t too sure exactly what the plan is with meeting up with the rest of the New Zealand Youth Olympic team ahead of flying out for Argentina. The Youth Olympics runs from 6-18 October.
At the Youth Olympic Games Brea and Dylan will both compete in the individual event. They will also join Australian triathletes to form an Oceania team for the mixed team relay event.
New Zealand has a strong history in triathlon at the Youth Olympics with Aaron Barclay winning at Singapore 2010, and Daniel Hoy placing second four years later at Nanjing 2014. New Zealand athletes also combined with the Australian pair in the Mixed Relay Team Event to win silver in 2010 and bronze in 2014.
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