Para triathlete Nic Beveridge joins hero in the history books
Australia's Nic Beveridge was inspired to take up triathlon after watching Bill Chaffey compete. Just six years later, he made it onto the podium alongside his hero.
Beveridge won silver in the GC2018 Para Triathlon, just behind England's Joseph Townsend and ahead of Chaffey in the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run circuit.
Beveridge led after the swim before Townsend moved from sixth into first position during a courageous cycle. Chaffey crashed on the fourth cycle lap, having to cycle one-handed for the remainder of the leg.
GC2018 is the first Games to feature Para Triathlon on the program.
Chaffey inspired Beveridge to take up triathlon while Beveridge was in hospital in 2012. After losing his ability to walk at 17, Beveridge was 25 and recovering from surgery, watching the London 2012 Paralympics.
"It was probably the first time in my life I’d been really inspired, and I felt like I had to do something with the ability I had left in my upper body." Beveridge told GC2018.com.
"I got on Google and typed something like ‘extreme endurance para-sport’ and I came across an article about Bill Chaffey, and he was training for the Hawaii Ironman at the time and was a three-time sprint world champion as well.
As soon as I read that article, I just knew that Para Triathlon was the sport for me. I had to get into it."
At the time, Beveridge couldn’t have guessed he would race alongside the very man that inspired him.
"I got in touch with Triathlon Queensland and they put me in touch with Bill and it just all went from there," he said.
Beveridge describes that moment, reading the article, as an instant connection to triathlon, before he’d even tried the sport.
"Before I even had a hand cycle or a racing wheelchair I just knew the sport was it for me, and I was telling people [that]," Beveridge explained.
"They were sort of like, ‘oh you know, maybe wait until you start swimming, wait until you get to try out the equipment and stuff’ but I was just convinced.
"I just knew within myself that it was right. And sure enough, as soon as I got the equipment and started training, there were no regrets.
"After my first race there was definitely no turning back, I was 100 per cent addicted."
His world championship fourth is just the next phase of Beveridge’s rapid rise through the ranks and as his form improves, he’s catching up to mentor and friend, five-time World Champion Bill Chaffey.
Beveridge finished nine minutes behind Chaffey in Rio 2016 and when he raced him in the 2017 ITU World Series race in Yokahama, Japan, the gap had shortened to just 47 seconds.
At the 2017 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Rotterdam, the 30-year-old athlete achieved his best ever international performance, finishing the challenging course in 1:10:44.
He finished the GC2018 course five seconds ahead of Chaffey to take bronze.
"We did a race plan last night with my coach and it was executed just as I planned. I didn't expect to place, it just worked out that way," Beveridge said after winning silver.
Spending his early years on the Gold Coast, Beveridge returned to the city ahead of GC2018.
"When I found out Para Triathlon had been added to the schedule for the Commonwealth Games, and it was a part of that inclusive team, I knew that I had to give myself the best opportunity to do that," he said.
"Moving up to the Gold Coast felt like the first major thing I had to do and fortunately for me, the coach I’m working with, Dan Atkins, was also based on the Gold Coast so all the stars kind of aligned for me and it just showed me that Gold Coast was definitely the place to be."
Beveridge now calls the Gold Coast home and said the close-knit triathlon community is a key element to his success in the sport.
"The squad that I train with here on the Gold Coast, if you’re having a bad day they just pick you up," he said.
"You always kind of feed off one another, whether you want to or not, and the attitude and dedication of the athletes in that squad, it’s addictive and it’s contagious.
"You can rock up, not feeling great and feed off them and end up having a stellar session when you didn’t think you would.
"Your training squad is a little community, when you’re racing it’s a little community in itself, because you’re all out there challenging yourself to see what rewards you’re going to get from your training.
"You can all appreciate what each other’s left out there on the course at the end of the day.
"Until you’ve done it, it’s hard to describe just the kind of feel that it has.
"I’m just so glad I discovered the sport and have been able to get in to it."
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