Matt Hauser’s push for Commonwealth Games selection has started with the successful defence of his Australian and Oceania short-course triathlon titles.
The 23-year-old Tokyo Olympian held off Callum McClusky on Saturday to win the Devonport race.
Sydney’s Matilda Offord took out the women’s race for the 22-year-old’s first win at the elite level.
Hauser, who also raced at home in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, took out the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run event in 53 minutes 34 seconds.
McClusky finished in 54:10 for second and Hauser’s training partner Lorcan Redmond was another eight seconds back in third place.
It was a handy boost for Hauser ahead of the Gold Coast Triathlon on April 3, the first automatic nomination race for the Birmingham Games triathlon team.
“It was hard out there, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty puffed when I finished off but that was due to the work I’d done earlier in the race so I was pretty pleased with the way I set myself up,” Hauser said after his first major race of the year.
“It’s a great confidence booster and I can move forward knowing that the form’s there and continue to build into the training which is a positive for me and hopefully I can get on the top step in a few more races.”
Offord, who won the under-23 category at Devonport last year, stepped up to take out the senior women’s race.
She is aiming for automatic Australian under-23 selection at the Mooloolaba Triathlon in a fortnight for the world titles.
Offord won in one hour one minute 53 seconds, with 2018 Commonwealth Games representative Charlotte McShane second at 28 seconds and Sophie Linn another 12 seconds behind in third.
In the Devonport Paratriathlon, Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Lauren Parker was among the category winners despite skin grafts on her feet a week and a half ago to treat burns injuries.
The wheelchair racer had to make sure her feet were kept completely dry throughout the race, meaning several layers of waterproof dressing.
Parker said she is lucky to still have her toes after her feet were badly burned last year in the United States.
She rested her feet on the dashboard of a car and, because Parker has no feeling in that part of her body, did not realise they had been scorched by the sun.
Parker said after Saturday’s win that she has had further burns injuries on her feet since her injuries in the US.