Following last weekend's triathlon, Benalla's Luke Baker looks to have a promising future in the sport.By Damen Francis
Budding Benalla triathlete Luke Baker needs a coach.
Not because he is struggling to compete — far from it — but his natural talent would undoubtedly benefit even further from some specialist training and direction.
The 15-year-old finished 13th in the Benalla Triathlon on Saturday in a personal best time of one hour, 2min and 55sec.
He was the first local runner across the line in the sprint distance race.
It was Baker’s fourth Benalla triathlon and he admitted he was learning the sport as he goes.
‘‘Mum’s trying to find me a coach, I’m doing it all by myself at the moment, ’’ Baker said.
‘‘My first race was about three years ago, but I have only started training hard for about a year and a half.
‘‘I beat last year’s time by three-and-a-half minutes and the two before that I absolutely smashed, but that was when I was just starting out.’’
A strong performance in the swim — which is usually his weakest leg — put Baker in a good early position.
Despite losing some ground on the bike, he set himself up well for his preferred stage, the run.
‘‘I came out the same place in the swim, seventh or eighth, and then two guys passed me on the ride, then I passed them back on the run, ’’ he said.
‘‘On the ride no-one was really near me after they passed me and on the run I just tried to chase them down.
‘‘That’s my strongest leg, although I got a bit of a stitch, so I couldn’t do it to my best.’’
The Benalla College student now has his sights set on qualifying for the School Sport Australia Boys’ and Girls’ Triathlon Championship, to be held in Penrith, NSW in April.
The selection process is through the School Sport Victoria All Schools Series, which is part of the XOSIZE Tri Series.
Each nominated athlete’s two best results from the three races will be considered, with six places allocated to each division on last year’s Victorian team.
After missing round one, Baker placed fourth in the male 14-15 division at the round two event at Brighton on December 2.
Round three will be held at Elwood on January 20.
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