Promising young triathlete Lachie Baird gearing up for big summer
One of Southland’s most promising young triathletes is gearing up for a big summer.
Lachie Baird, 16, has previously won the South Island under 16 secondary schools triathlon title and been runner-up at the New Zealand secondary schools championships.
The Jansen Rogers-coached, Southland Triathlon and Multisport club athlete is a first year, or foundation level, member of the Academy Southland programme.
Academy Southland runs a two-year programme supporting promising Southland athletes with a range of services from nutrition, to mental skills, athlete life and strength and conditioning, with the goal of developing better athletes and better people.
At last weekend’s Yunca Junior Tour of Southland Lachie impressed on the bike - his favoured discipline - finishing 11th overall in his first year of the under 19 classification.
“I was stoked, my first year in under 19 I wasn’t expecting too much to come out of it,” Lachie said.
“I was just trying to learn a few more bike skills, and to come away with that result I was pretty happy.”
Lachie is preparing for a summer schedule which will include the Future ChampioNZ triathlon festival in Taupo in mid-December, the January circuit in Central Otago and the New Zealand secondary schools championships, which are being held in Wanaka in February and will be a major focus.
From there Lachie will look at qualifying for the Oceania championships, and maybe even the world championships.
Summer might still feel like a long way away, but not for Lachie.
“The winter months are a good time to do something different from triathlon, like bike racing or duathlon. It's good to mix it up and learn a few skills while I’m at it,” he said.
Lachie has been working on his swimming technique and building strength in the gym over the winter.
He first got into triathlon the way many youngsters in Southland do, after taking part in what is now the Total Life Kids Tryathlon, and later the Southland secondary schools championships.
“It’s certainly not the easiest sport, but that’s probably one of the aspects that I enjoy about it. It’s not something everyone can do. I like the hard work and dedication you have to put into it. It’s really rewarding at the end of a season to look back and see what you’ve done and how far you’ve come.”
Lachie said having fellow triathlete Jaxon Taylor, who is also coached by Jansen Rogers and is in the second year of the Academy Southland programme, to train against had helped his development.
“I’d say if I didn’t have Jaxon down here training with me, it would definitely make it a lot more difficult. We push each other to our limits. We’ve had some good battles over the past few years, it’s been good.”
Lachie is grateful for the support he’s received from the Academy, and the local triathlon club.
“(The Academy) has been really helpful, especially with helping me find those extra one percenters that will help me become a better athlete,” he said.
“The Southland Triathlon and Multisport Club do a really good job with the events they run, and the triathlon community provide a lot of support.”