Kiwis ready to make their mark on Nutri Grain Series

Posted by SLSNZ Media on Friday, November 27, 2015

The Kiwis are ready to step up and race as the prestigious Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman Series gets underway in Queensland this weekend.

Never before has New Zealand had three athletes take part in the same series which turns out some of the toughest racing in surf lifesaving.

Mairangi Bay's Danielle McKenzie, Omanu's Max Beattie and Midway's Cory Taylor know the pressure is on.

McKenzie, who finished in a respectable thirteenth place after six rounds last season, is delighted to be back for another go at the title and knows she is up against some tough competition.

"I know my competitors are going strong, especially with the likes of Liz Pluimers taking out the Coolangatta Gold a few months back and the young talent of Lizzy Welborn and her superstar board paddling, she says.

"The girls are all racing harder and faster and everyone is at their peak so anyone on the right day could win. I know that on Saturday morning when I put my toe on the line, it's race time!"

McKenzie says juggling her university studies, work, training and racing has been hard over the past few months but the last few rounds of racing in the Summer of Surf has given her a huge amount of confidence leading into this weekend.

For Max Beattie, 23, racing in the series is a dream come true. He says he has a combination of nerves and excitement leading up to the weekend but he's looking forward to racing alongside fellow Kiwi Cory Taylor.

"I think sharing this experience with one of my best mates should hopefully calm some pre-race butterflies, he says.

"Plus watching Dani race always inspires me to race harder, so I'm really looking forward to seeing her race with another year's experience under her belt."

Making the series has been one of 22 year-old Cory's main goals since he was a teenager.

He says he's not usually one to get nervous but that will probably change when it all unfolds tomorrow and he gets to race against the best in the sport.

"It's a goal I've had for a while so the sensation when the gun goes will be unreal. Having two other Kiwis, especially another rookie and my good mate Max, should make the task easier as we know we are not in it alone."

Taylor says he hopes they can all do New Zealand, and the sport, proud by being in the series.

"And hopefully inspire young Nippers to know that they can do it and achieve the Nutri-Grain goal."

New Zealand team coach Jason Pocock says he is really looking forward to supporting the three athletes over the weekend.

"We know they can race in small packs in international competition, as they have shown over the last two years, but racing in a large competitive pack is a different skill. I know they will be using each other and their supporters there and back home to help motivate them."

Mr Pocock says he is sure that if they focus on the things that they can control and ensure they concentrate on the immediate tasks at hand they will be successful.

"The whole of the New Zealand surf lifesaving community is proud of them already and we look forward to celebrating their greater growth and success," he says.

This weekend's racing will take place at Coolum Beach in Queensland with Rounds Three and Four taking place at Newcastle Beach in New South Wales from November 19-20 and Rounds Five and Six at North Cronulla Beach in New South Wales on January 16-17.

Keep up with the series via their Facebook page on via Twitter.

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For more information, please contact:

Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Specialist, SLSNZ
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823
Email lisa.smith@surflifesaving.org.nz

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