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Latrobe Valley Triathlon Club overcome adversity

The Latrobe Valley Triathlon Club has experienced its fair share of ups and downs over the past few years, but the club, which has now been around for 35 years, continues to thrive no matter what comes their way.  

Starting out in 1985, the LVTC is one of the oldest clubs within Victorian triathlon and over the past three decades have grown to establish a strong community club which has seen many LVTC members going on to race in competitions across Australia and the world. The events including the IRONMAN World Championships, IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, Olympic and Sprint Distance World Championships.

“LVTC athletes  are not just Australian standard but world standard, we’ve had numerous  club members compete in the  World  Championship  events in Kona, Hawaii and perform exceptionally well on the world stage; and this continues to this day,” said Club President, Andrew Legg.

The key to LVTC’s  early  success  was the access to  the Hazelwood Pondage,  (The Cooling Pond for the Hazelwood Power Station)  which allowed  members to train and compete year round and stage  major events in winter.

“It was a significant advantage for our club to be able to use the Hazelwood  Poundage  during winter and offer a  legitimate open water swim during the cold Victorian winter months,” said Legg.

However, in more recent times, the LVTC have been forced to make some changes.
During the summer of 2016-17, the Victorian Government announced that the Hazelwood Power Station would be decommissioned and permanently  closed, with the Hazelwood pondage to be drained.  This greatly impacted the LVTC, hosting local multisport events and training after being left without a venue.

Taking the change in their stride, the LVTC relocated to the Traralgon Outdoor Pool.

“We were still keen to provide locals with the opportunity to participate in multi-sport, so we established a Wednesday night Splash & Dash which was a weekly Aquathon for club members  to take part in over the summer months.”

The first season of the Splash & Dash event saw the LVTC attract a small number of participants, around 12 to 15 per night. However, going forward into the second season, a move to involve the kids that had been watching their  parents  take  part, paid off for the event participation numbers.

“Offering  a one off ‘Come n’ Tri’ night for the kids, we had 30 kids Splashing and Dashing with us.”

The third series of ‘Splash & Dash’ saw the event add two kids’ races, which allowed for parents, children, grandparents, uncles and aunties to all compete at the same venue on the same night.

“Our youngest competitor was aged 3 years old while our oldest was 75 years of age.
Splash & Dash  grew to almost  100 participants per  night;  of that 60% were children under the age of 12.”

The LVTC had established a solid event that could sustain the club, when news came in that the Traralgon Outdoor Pool would be demolished in March 2019.

It was back to the drawing board for the LVTC, as they sourced a new training venue. Unable to run the Splash & Dash event this past season, the LVTC created ‘Pedal & Pound Training’ at a new course in Glengarry.

“Surveying our members to find out what made Splash & Dash so popular showed it was the short and sharp  nature of the event, it was local, it was not expensive and it was all done in under an hour, so we created  the Pedal & Pound concept.
Run / Ride / Run…. Choose your own distance.”

Offered every Wednesday night over summer, the LVTC were able to attract new participants to the club who wanted to join in but were unable to swim.

In doing so, for the first time in 35 years LVTC had a new audience and non-swimmers could join the club and enjoy multi-sport.

The Latrobe Valley Triathlon Club have shown resilience, through the changes they have faced, however continue to press on and adapt for the future of the club and triathlon in there community.

For more details on the Latrobe Valley Triathlon Club, visit them on Facebook .

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