Triathlon: Focus fixed on young talent

By Cameron Leslie

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Sam Warriner puts her Sweat7 training squad through their paces on the KartSport Whangarei track in Austin Rd, Maunu. Photo / John Stone
Sam Warriner puts her Sweat7 training squad through their paces on the KartSport Whangarei track in Austin Rd, Maunu. Photo / John Stone

Champion Northland triathlete Sam Warriner is giving back to the sport that gave her so much by helping equip the next generation with the tools to be successful.

Warriner, as part of her role with the Sweat7 training squad, has this week hosted nine young triathletes in Whangarei - with the idea of teaching them skills specific to triathlon.

"I'm a big believer of bringing the next generation through," the former world number one said. "I've always had a passion for teaching kids, obviously from my teaching days.

"[But], for me, it's all about the next generation doing well and wanting them to achieve. I'm still lucky I can compete at a high level [with them], but the priority is the next generation - we want gold medals and we want to be competitive when it comes to that."

Warriner added she had been working with the same group all year teaching the young athletes the skills needed to achieve.

She said the role she played with the up-and-coming talent was that of preparation.

"I've been coaching them throughout the year and this week is to say, 'Here are the other little skills I can add', so when [New Zealand athletes] go to compete with the rest of the world we're able to. I'm building up those skills, so, if they get the opportunity to be involved, they've got the skills to do it. It's a professional centre [TriNZ] so if they want to take them on you know they're ready to go."

Warriner said that the ITU World Triathlon Series race courses had changed in recent years, which meant specific skills were required for certain parts of the race - like acceleration out of tight corners on winding bike tracks.

To simulate such bike legs, Warriner took the squad to KartSport Whangarei's newly lengthened track to get used to riding in a group in tight spaces and learning to accelerate out of corners.

Sweat7's training squad includes three national champions - Jaimee Leader, Brad Cullen and Anna Wilkinson - as well as three locals, in the form of Louis Poot, Ashlee Greenhalgh and Aaron Greenhalgh.

One of the main purposes of Warriner hosting the squad this week was to ready six of them for Junior Olympic qualifiers this weekend.

As for Warriner herself, she's getting geared up to crack back into competition in the New Year.

"I want to come back and hit the New Zealand season fit and strong. I didn't want to come back too soon," she said after becoming a mother last year.

Next up for the Northland legend was the Tauranga Half Ironman in January.

- Northern Advocate

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