Winning one national secondary school's title is a big deal for any athlete.

But Otumoetai College student Olivia Cummings, 14, claimed a clean sweep of three titles at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Triathlon Championships held in Whanganui last week.

The weather was average, the water quality in the river decidedly dubious after heavy rains but Olivia was oblivious to any distractions around her.

She won the under-16 girls' individual triathlon and aquathlon titles before teaming up with Otumoetai College teammates Grace Blissett, Jade Stafford and Harry Lowe from Tauranga Boys' College to take out the under-16 tag team event.


"I didn't know I was in the tag team until I was down there but winning the triathlon and the aquathlon was the goal," Olivia said.

"I had a better bike than I thought I would and in the run, I ran everyone down which is good. I like triathlon because there are three parts to it but I am probably better at aquathlon just because I haven't done much biking."

Swimming is Olivia's major strength, and any triathlete that is first out of the water has a major advantage every race. The Smiths Sports Shoes-sponsored athlete will be even more competitive once her cycling gets up to speed.

Olivia trains daily at the brand new Liz van Welie Swim School in Pyes Pa, which has one of the few chlorine-free commercial pools in New Zealand.

Last December she impressed by winning all four events she entered in the Future ChampioNZ Talent Festival held in Taupo. She was up against 120 of New Zealand's best young triathletes plus the national age group team from Japan.

Olivia is coached by Craig Kirkwood from CK Coaching for her running and cycling training.

Kirkwood was not surprised by the success Olivia had at the school nationals.

"That was the goal all the way. She cleaned up at the Future Champions last year against some younger competition, and that age group there [Nationals] was a little bit older so we weren't sure what the challenge would be," he said.


"She is a phenomenal athlete and has a lot of potential. I think there is a good chance she will kick on to being a really good senior athlete for New Zealand. Who knows where the future is going to lie."

Kirkwood said during the next couple of years it was important not to push her too hard.

"We are really careful with what she does. She actually doesn't do a lot of running or cycling. She does a lot of swimming which keeps her base fitness up so just supplementary running.

"She is a real natural talent so just kind of raw and we just need to nurture it and make sure she doesn't overdo it at a young age which would be easy to do.

"It is easy to load more and more on to her but long term that would never be a good idea, so we are just really careful with what we do."

Now the triathlon season is over it is straight into cross country for Olivia where she is determined to win another national title.