Young Camperdown triathlete's surprise silver medal at national youth titles

CAMPERDOWN triathlete Kurt McDonald was “over the moon” yesterday afternoon after claiming silver at the Australian Youth Championships on the Sunshine Coast.

Kurt McDonald leads Jace Grant and Liam Burton during the run leg. Picture: STEPHEN HARMAN

Kurt McDonald leads Jace Grant and Liam Burton during the run leg. Picture: STEPHEN HARMAN

The 14-year-old rising star was pipped in the last 300 metres of the event at Twin Waters, finishing just three seconds behind the winner in the 15-16 year boys’ category. 

Kurt told The Standard that as a bottom-age competitor he didn’t anticipate a podium finish.

“I’m really happy with the result, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” he said. 

“To come away from a national championship with a silver as a bottom-age competitor is something I never expected.”

The Cobden Technical School student finished the 600-metre open water swim in 18th position, before making up ground in the 16km ride and 4km run.

“I got pretty beat up in the swim. It wasn’t a good leg for me at all. I got sat on at the start and then I got kicked in the face.”

He said after exiting the water and jumping on the bike he managed to attack and bridge across to the main group. 

“After I got up with the leaders I managed to make my way to the front of the group and I came off the bike in first place. 

“In the run I sat off the front with another guy for most of the way, but in the last 300 metres or so he just took off and ended up finishing three seconds ahead of me.” 

Kurt said his preparation for the event had been gruelling, doing up to 12 sessions a week.

“I was doing four sessions of each leg a week in the four weeks beforehand. It’s been the sole focus of training,” he said. 

“We backed off a bit last week so I was fresh and rested heading into the event. It was pretty tough, but it was worth it.” 

Kurt claimed a breakthrough national win in January, taking out the Scody Australian Junior Triathlon Series’ youth boys’ round two title in Penrith. 

He said he hoped his good form would continue in the the lead up to his final race of the season, the National All Schools, in Bendigo on April 8. 

“After that I’ll have a bit of a break before I start my pre-season training again,” he said. 

“The new season will start again in November, so hopefully there will be a few more podiums next year.”