Bevilacqua grabs Qld Ironman win after tough start
MATT Bevilacqua knows what it is like to finish last. He was lodged in that position during Mooloolaba club training sessions for almost two years.
Now, the 22-year-old knows what it feels like to win one of the biggest races in the sport.
Bevilacqua yesterday captured the Queensland ironman crown at Maroochydore, ahead of clubmate and fellow up-and-comer Hayden White.
It was a breakthrough victory for the Tasmanian, who linked with renowned Sunshine Coast coach Michael King four years ago to pursue his dreams.
Those first couple of seasons with the elite squad proved tough.
"There was two years of grinding. There was that (strength and endurance) base building and those hard winters where I was dead-last in the squad," he said.
"They're the ones people don't notice."
But he persevered and eventually found himself shadowing the likes of Matt Poole and Ali Day at training.
Then the results came and in the past two seasons, he's emerged as one to watch.
He claimed a podium spot in a round of the elite Ironman Series in 2013-14.
And last year Bevilacqua was runner-up to Shannon Eckstein at the world championships.
That result confirmed his status as a rising star and he went on to snare another podium spot in the 2014-15 Ironman Series.
"To be honest, the last couple of years have been great," he said. "It's been good fun."
But yesterday's win was a breakthrough win in a big event.
"It's great to have a first place finally," he said. "I've always sort of been stuck on the podium so that's great."
He beat a field boasting Eckstein and Poole. Reigning series champion Day and Ky Hurst failed to make the final but Jett Kenny, the son of legend Grant Kenny, did make the last field of 16.
Currumbin's Jackson Maynard finished third.
Among other men's results, Northcliffe won the open male taplin relay and the overall championships, on 477 points, ahead of Mooloolaba (326 points).
Sunshine Beach's Nick Sloman won the under-17 boys ironman final.