Surf Life Saving to Triathlon | Zoe Clarke's Transition

Zoe Clarke came to the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) in 2023 on a National Talent Transfer Program Scholarship.

Growing up in coastal New South Wales, Clarke competed in Surf Life Saving during her adolescence until she moved to Canberra for university. Without immediate access to the ocean, she was interested to find a new competitive sport and came across triathlon.

“I was drawn to the challenge of a new sport and the opportunity to combine swimming and running. I had always loved running but had never properly trained nor had I done any cycling,” said Clarke.

Triathlon provides the opportunity to take on longer courses and to challenge stamina across multiple disciplines, which attracted Clarke coming from surf life saving. The prospect to compete internationally and to work towards an Olympic Games was part of the appeal to cross into triathlon.

“I wanted race opportunities all over the world but also the chance to chase an Olympic dream,”

“When I was asked to apply for the Triathlon Talent Transfer Program after my first season of triathlon, I had no idea how valuable the program would be to my development as an athlete and as a person,” she said.

VIS Triathlon Talent Transfer Head Coach, Jarrod Evans, first met Clarke through an introduction from a former coach, which lead to sharing information on the National Talent Transfer Program.  Clarke concedes she was injured, over trained and was feeling lost at the time of meeting Evans, but her journey with the VIS and Triathlon Australia has helped her to recover and rebuild into the athlete she is today.

“Jarrod and the incredible support team at the VIS have been amazing at helping me recover from those injuries, get back into racing and build myself into a healthier, stronger athlete both mentally and physically,” said Clarke.

“The Triathlon Talent Transfer Program does more than teach you how to swim, bike and run, it teaches and fosters the skills and behaviours to be a successful athlete. It has been exciting and has tested my limits to help me get the most out of myself,”

Clarke has since attended training camps, raced as part of the program and is building relationships with the support team and other athletes to create a strong network. As a VIS scholarship athlete she has access to all VIS facilities including strength and conditioning training, nutritional support, sports medicine, sports psychology, support for life outside sport, sport science and physical therapies.

“I am very grateful for the opportunities the Triathlon Talent Transfer Program has given me and am looking forward to continuing to work towards my goals knowing I have an exceptional and dedicated team around me,” 

Learn more about transitioning into triathlon via our Triathlon Recruitment page.

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