Lana takes on best at Aussies and comps up trumps
SURF LIFESAVING: Newly-crowned Australian ironwoman champion Lana Rogers is set to launch a serious assault on this year's Coolangatta Gold, declaring her intent to tackle it with more purpose this time around.
The 22-year-old claimed the biggest victory of her career on Saturday when she stormed to the finish line at the Aussies in Perth, ahead of Kurrawa's Rebecca Creedy and North Bondi's Lizzie Welborn.
It was the perfect way to end her season and now the Noosa Heads athlete has one eye on the start of next summer and the iconic torture test that is the Coolangatta Gold.
She placed fifth on debut in the race last year and is determined to make a more concerted tilt at it when the 41.8km trek rolls around in October.
"I feel like I could race it a whole different way,” she said.
"Hopefully, I can work on my ski leg and do a whole lot more paddle work. That training will start in about May or June and I'm really looking forward to that.”
Rogers showed plenty of promise in her first attempt, clocking 4hr 27min to finish four minutes behind three-time winner Courtney Hancock, but it wasn't what she had envisaged.
She's eager to put more into it this time.
"I feel like I just raced it different to how I expected to and I want to have another crack at it and see how I go at it properly,” she said.
The endurance race consists of a 23km ski leg, 9.2km of running, a 3.5km swim leg and a 6.1km board leg.
It traditionally starts and ends at Coolangatta and heads as far north as Broadbeach.
She has know-how in her corner too, with Noosa Heads coach Darren Mercer a former winner of the famous race. Rogers showed her strength in the main disciplines during the shorter and sharper ironwoman format on Saturday when she won the national title. The Rockhampton product was on the pace in the ski leg, made her move in the swim leg and made sure of things on the board.
Capturing the Australian crown capped a remarkable rise through the sport for Rogers. She was also fourth in the summer's Ironwoman Series and was runner-up at the state championships.
"It's been a big two years for me. I moved down to Noosa after school and I was hoping to pursue that ironwoman dream. I work hard, I train three times a day, six days a week and it's got to, hopefully, be your race one day.
" I'm over the moon. I can't believe this season is coming to an end but I wouldn't really have it any other way.”