By Anna Cleaver
At only 20 years of age this Australian undoubtedly has a big future ahead of her. With just a few years of triathlon in her legs, she already has a world ranking and is lining up next to the best in the world at this weekend’s ITU World Cup Series event.
Natalie recently came 5th at the Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup and 4th at the OTU Triathlon Oceania Championships in Wellington. It is shaping up to be a big year for Natalie as she steps up to World Cup Series racing.
Anna Cleaver: Natalie, you must be excited to be in Auckland for the season opener of the WTS?
Natalie Van Coevorden: it feels like yesterday that I was here for world championships last year as a under 23 and my excitement levels have not changed. It brings back great memories and I can’t wait to race tomorrow with best girls in the world.
Anna: You showed in Mooloolaba that you can swim with the best, coming out of the water with Emma Moffatt and Andrea Hewitt. What is your swimming background?
Natalie: growing up I used to train 9 times a week watching the black line up and down the pool. I really enjoyed 5km and 10km open water swims (crazy i know!) My best was 7th at Australian champs in Sydney in 2008.
Anna: Rewind to 2008. You were in school and probably watching the Olympics on TV. If I had told 15 year old Natalie that she would be lining up next to Olympians in an international event, beginning her own Olympic journey, what would she have told me?
Natalie: probably would have just laughed at you or given you a strange look! It’s been an amazing journey since then with plenty of ups and downs but I couldn’t ask for a better journey so far with amazing support from people around me.
Anna: Tomorrow’s swim will be a non-wetsuit one, given Auckland’s cooler waters. Does this suit you?
Natalie: Being a non wetsuit swim I would say does suit me better but hey famous last words. I enjoy both wetsuit and non wetsuit swims these days especially with my great HUUB wetsuit- fast swimming!
Anna: Previous races on this course have showed it leans itself towards a breakaway in the bike course. Would you agree that some of the stronger swim/ bikers will be looking to split the field?
Natalie: for sure! If the opportunity is there for them to do it, I am sure they will use it to there advantage and I hope I am there with them! The course demands a strong swim and bike especially with the hills and if you can stay away it will be great for the stronger runners out there.
Anna: You have successfully made the jump to professional racing and seem to have done it while maintaining your fun, easy going character. Who has mentored you through this transition?
Natalie: I wouldn’t have got this far without a big push, a good head, supportive family and a athlete centered coach driven training environment that I have available to me in Wollongong with Jamie Turner. Even since I have started he has developed me as a junior to having the opportunity to race World Series gaining major experience over the last year. I tend to be always smiling and have become quite relaxed person as you can’t control the uncontrollables and I know the have done the training to get me where I need to be.
Natalie congratulations on what has already been a successful start to 2013. We are excited to watch you race tomorrow and during the rest of what I am sure will be a great season for you.
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Anna Cleaver is a former New Zealand champion swimmer and now professional triathlete who has just stepped up to Long Course.