Bronze medallist Natalie Van Coevorden has sent a huge thank you to “my team” at Campbelltown Catholic Club.

The proud local girl stood on the Commonwealth Games podium in Birmingham this week after Australia came third in the Mixed Relay Triathlon.

Caption Natalie Van Coevorden and her Triathlon Australia mixed relay team wins bronze at the Commonwealth Games mixed team relay in Birmingham 2022

“I couldn’t have got this medal without my team, and I think that’s the same team that got me onto the start line. Doing this sport needs a lot of guidance and support behind the scenes and without local support from Campbelltown Catholic Club and the local community, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

“Campbelltown Catholic Club and Aquafit have been an Integral part of my triathlon journey from the start. They always believed in my passion and supported me from my grass roots stage of starting triathlon. Hopefully, we can share more medals together but this medal is just as much yours as it is mine.”

This bronze has been hailed as a return to form for Australia, once a nation to beat in triathlon but in the doldrums since Erin Densham (also a proud Campbelltown girl) won bronze at the London Olympics in 2012. Natalie’s fellow bronze medal winners were Jake Birtwhistle, Sophie Linn and Matt Hauser, their team finishing 49 seconds behind the English, who won gold in one hour 16 minutes 40 seconds. Wales was second.

Campbelltown Catholic Club has been financially-backing our local champion for years, with Natalie often seen at Aquafit taking advantage of its world class strength-training and pool facilities.

Aquafit has really created a bubble of people that follow my journey,” Natalie said, “and it is always nice when people say they have read something in the paper or followed me online for a race. I always walk out the door with a smile.”

Even when gyms were closed in the pandemic, Aquafit stepped up. “I couldn’t have completed 2020 a healthy, robust and strong athlete without the home support that allowed me to walk five metres to my home gym that was filled with Aquafit equipment,” she said. “You allowed me to continue to train and continue to maintain my world class level for my training and racing.”

Natalie was born and raised in Campbelltown, doing both swimming and cross country running throughout her years at Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School and John Therry Catholic High School at Rosemeadow. “Erin Densham I would say was my local sporting hero,” Natalie said. “She also went to John Therry.”

The Catholic Club remains a big part of her childhood memories.

“When I was 11 and 12, I had the best birthday parties there. It was like a mini Sunday night disco. We would have a great buffet of food, a huge dance floor and create lolly bags for people to go home with.

“Later in life I had my year 10 formal, year 11 social and year 12 formal there.

“I feel like the Catholic Club was a place in my memory that brought people together and I have nothing but fond memories.”

We wish Natalie all the best as we cheer her on from home.