Triathlon Australia’s Next Generation

Liam Bromilow | Photography: Delly Carr/ at Water Sport News

With the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio now the central focus of Triathlon Australia’s high performance program, we got our man Liam Bromilow to take a look at the talent emerging from the under-23 and junior ranks.

With the current slide down the rankings that Australia’s triathlon elite are experiencing, it’s hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. But, believe it or not, the next generation of triathlon superstars are just around the corner.

The talent pool for both male and female is as rich as the old guard’s crown of jewels. We take a look at the rising stars with no limits, who whether young or not have their eyes firmly set upon Rio 2016.

Triathlon elite for this younger generation is broken into junior (under 19) and Under 23. With the advent of the National Talent Academies (NTA – an initiative brought in by Triathlon Australia in recent years) the cream of the crop are being nurtured under the guidance of Australia’s best coaches such as Olympians Craig Walton and Jan Rehula.

To enter into this talented realm the athletes have swim and run performance indicators they must meet and maintain, and by doing so are set upon a path to hopefully achieve the great heights realised by those before them.

So who is this Generation Next?

Under-23 Males

Aaron Royle

The under-23 world champion from 2012 in Auckland is arguably the brightest prospect on the men’s side at present. Based at the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS), this exceptional swimmer has the talent to mix it with the big guns in the World Triathlon Series (WTS). Definitely one to watch in 2013 as he follows the WTS around the world, and with an improving run leg, Royle is expected to find his way into the top-10 at some of these big races sooner rather than later.

Ryan Fisher

This Brisbane-based young gun was almost lost to triathlon, as he showed significant prowess growing up playing soccer. From the Dan Atkins-stable, Fisher is as hard as nails, and has shown great potential, winning previous Australian junior and under-23 titles. Another notable swimmer, he’s sure to be at the pointy end out of the water in WTS events this season.

Ryan Bailie

Another NSWIS product, but hailing originally from Western Australia, Bailie has power on the bike and backs it up with a potent run leg. A 10th place at the 2012 Under-23 World Championship is sure to earn him on a few starts in WTS events this season.

Kenji Nener

Hailing from Perth, NTA athlete Nener graduate from the Juniors into Under-23s this season with a killer run leg in his arsenal. Being one of the shortest triathletes in the bunch, Nener possesses a fierce attitude and is going to be one to watch at the Australian Sprint Championships in Geelong next month. Nener finished 14th in the Junior World Championship in Auckland last year, so it’s going to be interesting to watch his progression this season as he steps up to regular ITU World Cup racing.

Marcel Walkington

Emerging from the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), Walkington was the 2011 Australian Junior Triathlon Series Champion and 2012 OTU Oceania Junior Sprint Champion. Walkington finished sixth last year in the Junior World Championship race in Auckland and was the highest-placed Australian. An outstanding swimmer with bike and run abilities to match, Walkington, or ‘Chuckles’, as he is affectionately known among his VIS peers, is one of Australia’s hottest triathlon prospects for the future.


Under-23 Females

Ashlee Bailie

The younger of the notable ‘Team Bailie’ (Ashlee is the younger sister of Under-23 male, Ryan), Ashlee Bailie is a rising star who won silver at the 2011 Junior World Championships. The quietly spoken talent has a vicious bike/run combination, and on a tough course could be a real handful this season on the ITU WTS if given a berth.

Charlotte McShane

This exciting prospect trains at the NSWIS and experienced her first WTS race at Sydney in 2012. McShane has a fierce run leg, which helped her achieve to two fourth places last season at Tiszaujvaros and Tongyeong World Cups. 

Natalie Van Coevorden

The talented Van Coevorden only began triathlon in 2010, but raised the bar last year. She began her year at Mooloolaba, finishing 20th, and rounded it out with a fifth placing in the Under-23 World Championships. Having raced multiple WTS events in 2012, this outstanding swimmer is one to keep an eye on.

Grace Musgrove

A talented transfer from athletics, NTA athlete Musgrove is a gifted runner with impeccable toughness. Her best result of 2012 was a second place finish at the Subic Bay Asian Cup race, but if given an opportunity in 2013 Musgrove will be out to show what she can do in only her second year in the sport.

Sarah Deuble

A Brisbane-based NTA athlete, Deuble has the running pedigree to show her competitors a clean pair of heels. This was shown early in 2012 by winning the Mooloolaba Oceania Cup. With continued improvement to her swim leg, Deuble could be a big performer for Australia in a few years.

Emily Bevan

Based in Queensland, Bevan is an exceptional cyclist/runner who went from strength to strength in 2012. Placing 21st at the Junior World Championships in 2012, if given a sniff at the prize Bevan has an element of brilliance about her which might see her cause a few upsets.

Tamsyn Moana-Veale

An NSWIS product of Jamie Turner, Moana-Veale is a promising athlete who was the 2011 Australian Junior Champion. With strong swim and run abilities, Moana-Veale is on the verge of making the step up to the senior squad.


Junior Male

Jacob Birtwhistle

The one that the nation is talking about. Having a run pedigree to match that of the Brownlees, NTA’s Birtwhistle is Australia’s bright hope for the future. A world champion in schools cross-country, this Tasmanian prodigy is the one to beat in the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).

Matt Baker

Another NTA product from NSW, Baker uses the bike and run legs as his weapons. Another AYOF contender, Baker will turn heads in 2013.

Christian Wilson

A talented performer from QLD, Wilson has the complete package. An exceptional swimmer, powerful cyclist, and blistering runner, the NTA prospect has an opportunity this weekend at the AYOF to show off his potential.

Joel Tobin-White

The Victorian product and NTA athlete has a blazing run leg, which sporns from a track running background. With a dominant bike leg to match, Tobin-White could be the answer the Australian men have been searching for.  Tobin-White was 23rd in last year’s ITU Junior World Championship in Auckland, and many are predicting him to return to bigger and better things once he returns from injury.


Junior Female 

Jodie Duff

A rising talent from Brisbane who is going from strength to strength. A three-time national schools triathlon champion, Duff is a pace setter in the water who then backs it up with a strong run leg to pull away from her competitors. A big hope for the win at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF), Duff is definitely here for the long run.

Jaz Hedgeland

The NTA athlete from the West, Hedgeland has the complete package of swim, bike and run. Powerful in each discipline, Hedgeland will make a big impact on the scene in 2013. Like Duff, Hedgeland is also set to represent Triathlon Australia at the AYOF, taking place on January 18.

Holly Grice

Only just overlooked for the Australian Junior team in 2012, Grice is a gifted swim/biker with loads of talent. Coming from Dan Atkins’ DAT Racing, Grice is tough and has no fears when setting an extreme pace during a race. Grice will join Duff, Hedgeland and Anna Coldham in the four-person women’s AYOF team.


Picking who will win an Olympic Gold medal is about as tough as beating Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich in a marathon. But this next generation of athletes is jam-packed with potential superstars.

Other names to watch include AYOF team members Luke Willian and Anna Coldham, as well as the Queensland duo of Brittany Dutton and Brittany Forster.

Though we can’t pick it now, without a doubt some of the aforementioned talents will be on the start line of the Olympic Games in just under four years, and hopefully will have a shiny gold rock hanging from their neck.



About swimbikerun1
Devoted Father, Husband and Employee.Endurance sports fanatic (running,cycling,swimming).Triathlon athlete and coach.If only days had more than 24 hours.

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