Triathlon: Netball star to contest Wellington Triathlon

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 09: Irene van Dyk of New Zealand walks off following the Fast5 Netball Series pool match between New Zealand and South Africa. Photo / Getty Images
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 09: Irene van Dyk of New Zealand walks off following the Fast5 Netball Series pool match between New Zealand and South Africa. Photo / Getty Images

Netball icon and former Silver Ferns shooter Irene van Dyk has signed up for the fifth Sovereign Tri Series event of the summer - the Wellington Triathlon at Waitangi Park on Saturday.

It will be van Dyk's first ever triathlon and she'll be taking part in the Short Distance race (300m swim, 10km bike, 2.7km run).

Van Dyk, who's just started her new role as the Junior Development Officer at Netball Central, will be doing the Wellington Triathlon with her daughter Bianca.

"I am very excited to be able to do the Wellington Tri with my daughter," says the 217-test veteran. "It gave us the opportunity to train together during the holidays and spend some quality mother-daughter time together which of course is always a good thing."

Even though this will be van Dyk's first ever triathlon, she has maintained her fitness after retiring from top-level netball and hopes she'll be able to keep up with the rest of the pack.

"I love being busy and fit, so Bianca and I have done a lot of running and cycling over the summer holiday period. Bianca has done a lot of swimming as well, where I on the other hand am a sinker, so swimming will most certainly be my downfall."

Event Director Stuart Dwight is delighted to have secured van Dyk's name, both as a former netball star, but also in her role as a mum and role model for her daughter Bianca and other parents around the country.

"Irene is just a delight, she approaches everything with a perfect combination of determination and a smile and she is taking on the Sovereign Tri Wellington in the same manner.

"Someone of Irene's standing and reputation gives us the opportunity to promote the message of participation to the wider community, but in particular to the women and daughters out there thinking of giving the sport a go.

Triathlon at the entry level is very welcoming of beginners, there is so much support on race day and throughout the Tri community and the atmosphere is just as good for the beginners as they take part as it is for the front runners.

"You don't need to be experienced, you don't need all the flash gear - Irene will have none of that, but what she does have is a great attitude and the confidence to go outside her comfort zone and take charge. I just know that she is going to have a great day."

The 43-year old's former Silver Ferns team mate Laura Langman has been a keen competitor at Sovereign Tri Tinman over the last couple of years, but van Dyk doesn't think she'll need any of Langman's advice just yet.

"Because I'm doing the shorter version I think I will be okay, but once I become more adventurous I'm sure I will be asking her for some advice."

- NZ Herald

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