AGE is proving a major stumbling block for Australia's top ironwomen with a teenager winning the Nutri-Grain ironwoman series for the third straight round.
As Matt Bevilacqua broke through for his first Nutri-Grain ironman win in two seasons, young ironwoman Brielle Cooper became the first athlete this season to win back-to-back races in the Nutri-Grain series at North Wollongong on Sunday.
But no one is more surprised than Cooper herself at her explosive new form.
"It is amazing. I can't even explain how good this feels," said the 18-year-old from the Gold Coast.
"I though the goal of getting on the podium again was a little unrealistic to be honest.
"But I got confidence from beating the other girls last round and I think that helps."
After delays to let thunder and lighting storms pass south of Sydney, Cooper produced a memorable sprint to beat defending series champion Harriet Brown to the line.
"She has super dooper long legs and I gave it everything I have. I have never run that fast in my life," Cooper said.
While Brown made the podium for the second time this season, big names like Coolangatta Gold champion Courtney Hancock and former series winner Jordan Mercer were again absent.
Bevilacqua, who earlier this year became the first man to paddleboard down a wave at the notorious Shipstern Bluff in his home state of Tasmania, won the men's eliminator racing.
Bevilacqua lives and trains with defending series champion Matt Poole who missed making the podium with other big names, including multiple series champion Shannon Eckstein and last round winner Ali Day.
"We really do bring out the best in each other," Bevilacqua said.
"Every time we go training we go to town on each and that's certainly improved me."
Cooper continues to lead the ironwoman series overall with T J Hendy leading the men ahead of three rounds in the new year.
In the women's racing on Sunday, Cooper won from Brown and Karlee Northern. Mercer was sixth and Hancock seventh.
Bevilacqua beat James Lacy, Nathan Gray and round one winner Hendy with Day fifth and Poole sixth.
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