Rogers captures Australian ironwoman crown
SURF LIFESAVING: Lana Rogers claimed the Australian ironwoman crown with an imposing performance at Perth on Saturday, after a healthy dose of pre-race pep talk.
The 22-year-old Noosa Heads athlete finished ahead of Kurrawa's Rebecca Creedy and North Bondi's Lizzie Welborn, to capture the greatest victory of her career so far.
"I'm really speechless actually," she said.
"Having this win at the end of the season is indescribable, to be an Australian ironwoman champion, to have that title to my name," she said.
Some pre-race guidance from her ski coach, craft handler and mentor Sharlene Kelly, proved valuable.
"She just told me to go for it, that it's the Aussies and it's your last one (race of the carnival)," she said.
"So I just had those words going through my head, to just go for it, so that was just pushing me along ...".
The daughter of dual Olympic swimmer Greg Rogers, she enjoyed an almost perfect race.
She was just behind Umina's Jemma Smith in the ski leg but it was in her favoured discipline where she made her move.
"I managed to take that lead in the swim leg and tried not to look back," she said.
Then she made sure of things with a composed showing on the board.
"I managed to get out without any surf and the girls got a little bit hammered and that gave me a bit more space to breathe and I managed to hold on," she said.
She also won the women's Taplin relay, with club-mates Jordan Mercer and Electra Outram, after they dominated the Ocean6 series during summer.
Rogers is the first athlete from a Sunshine Coast club to win an Australian ironwoman title since 2012, when Creedy represented Met Caloundra at North Kirra.
From Rockhampton, Lana and her sister Dahlas forged an affiliation with Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club as teenagers, travelling twice a month to train there.
They then moved to the region and linked with Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club, under coach Darren Mercer, himself a two-time Australian ironman champion.
Lana's been training there for the past couple of years, alongside Darren's daughter, 2015/2016 Ironwoman Series champion Jordan Mercer.
Rogers was fourth in this summer's series, winning a round and she was runner-up result at the state championships.
She admits there's been offers to join other clubs but she thinks she will stay at Noosa, with her eyes on the Coolangatta Gold and next summer's Ironwoman Series, for which she is an automatic qualifier.
Darren Mercer lauded her achievement.
"She's always had that killer swim and then just working with Jordy and the group there at Noosa and improving her skills on the board and the ski she's just lifted so it's been great."