Cuff making waves after club switch
NEVER say never. That's the attitude budding Mooloolaba ironman Luke Cuff is taking into the Aussies.
The 20-year-old will go into next month's national championships in Perth with his sights set firmly on winning the open ironman.
While he knows it's unlikely, he points out you can never count anything out in his sport. As he points out, no one expected his clubmate Cam Cole to win last year's title.
For the ambitious young racer, the carrot on the end of the stick isn't an Aussie title - although he acknowledges that would be an illustrious club to join. Instead, Cuff wants a berth in next year's Nutri-Grain Series.
The nationals ironman race will double as the sixth and final leg of the Surf Ironman Qualifying Series (SIQS).
Cuff is sitting in fourth and must win the ironman final to leapfrog Jack Moyes to jag the last of three berths for next year's series.
Unlikely? Yes. However, the world under-20 ironman champion has been emboldened by a string of strong results, including a silver at the state titles and a second in the fifth leg of the SIQS.
"That (making the Nutri-Grain Series) is the main focus at the moment," he said.
"As great as winning gold at the Aussies would be, it's one of the best things you can do in the sport, but I want to get into that pro series and see how far up I can get."
CUFF admits it was an eye-opener joining coach Michael King's squad from the Gold Coast late last year.
He moved up in an effort to further his career and for the first time in a long time, found himself chasing his training mates.
He was used to leading from the front at his former club but at Mooloolaba he was suddenly middle of the pack. He says this gave him perspective and an appreciation of the bigger picture.
King said Cuff had been one of the big improvers in the squad and was beginning to reap the rewards after laying the foundations with some hard work.
"The training he's doing is paying off," King said.
"Before the state titles, he hadn't raced the Kellogg's guys with this sort of training at his back. He's stood up and performed well."