TEENAGE athlete Mia Cook says beating experienced rivals in an ironwoman event is a confidence-booster as she prepares for a jam-packed summer schedule.
The Warrnambool competitor took out the prestigious and long-running Jim Wall Iron open women's section in Torquay at the weekend.
Cook, 16, said it was pleasing to perform well against a high-quality field in ski, board and swim disciplines and ranked the win among her greatest achievements, describing it as "the biggest title I have ever won".
"I was mainly happy and honoured to be placed among other really famous iron-women who have come down and done it previously," she said.
"It's great to become a part of the history of it."
The Jim Wall Iron - an iconic Australian event which has run since the 1960s - pitted Cook against her peers and older athletes.
"I have a really strong age group too so there was a lot of under 17s and under 19s in the mix as well," she said.
"It was a bit of sprint course so a bit of a shorter race. The order of events was ski, swim and then board."
Cook was running third entering the final leg but was pleased with her ability to work through challenges.
"I am not the strongest swimmer - I am working on it at the moment - but I am definitely stronger on board and ski," she said."
"At the start of ironwoman final I made a few mistakes from the ski but I just kept going and I managed to hold on in the swim and board, being my strongest leg, I managed to chase them down.
"It is pretty easy to throw in the towel and give up but I just kept going because not everything is going to go your way.
"I guess that's surf lifesaving for you - it's so unpredictable and there's a lot of luck to it as well."
The next three weekends will feature competitions for the dedicated teenager.
Cook, who praised coaches Jackson Fary (ski) and Steve Kerr (board) for their input, will take part in an interstate competition at Mouroubra this weekend followed by the Manly Freshwater Carnival in Sydney.
She will then have home-ocean advantage when Warrnambool hosts a Summer of Surf Battle of the Bay series on Saturday, January 28.
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