Photo credit to Sophie Stine Winckel

Photo credit to Sophie Stine Winckel

BUSINESS SEYCHELLES September 2013

Another great result for local triathlete Nick Baldwin.

Seychelles' only professional triathlete, 25 year old Nick Baldwin, has had a busy 2013. After turning professional earlier this year, he has competed in four major competitions; securing a top-10 position in three of them. He has been flying the flag for Seychelles abroad and showing that he is certainly one to watch out for in the future. 

Although busy training in the UK, Nick took some time out to talk to Business Seychelles about his journey so far.

How did you discover your talent for the triathlon?

I raced my first triathlon whilst studying Business Economics and French at university, but it’s fair to say that triathlon didn’t come naturally to me initially. In the early years my results weren’t in the least bit competitive, but I was competing for the sheer enjoyment. With the ambition of racing at the Ironman World Championships, I committed myself to training and my results improved as a result. It took 4-5 years of consistent training until I achieved some truly noteworthy results, so it didn’t happen overnight.

What hurdles did you have to cross before you became a professional athlete?

The biggest decision was when I graduated from university and had to decide whether to go down the corporate path or choose triathlon. At first I applied for a number of graduate schemes in finance, but in doing so realised that my heart wasn’t in it. Triathlon was my passion and what I wanted to do, so I set about committing to it and being the best that I could be.

What kind of support did you get along the way?

My family has always been extremely supportive of me and encouraged me to pursue my ambitions in triathlon. Without that support it would have been difficult to commit fully. Triathlon isn’t a cheap sport to compete in and I’ve been extremely fortunate to receive sponsorship from companies who have believed in me and my potential.

What made you make the decision to leave Seychelles to train abroad?

After deciding to train full-time in 2012, I realised the importance of training with top triathletes who are better than myself. With that, I spent 6 months training in Boulder, Colorado (USA) which is home to many of the world’s best triathletes. In this environment you’re constantly fighting to keep up with others and you have to raise your game as a result.

What does your training routine involve?

A typical training week would include 20km of swimming, 500km of cycling and 90-100km of running, which is around 30 hours of training. Depending on the time of year, it may be slightly less or more.

Does your training change depending on the race you are preparing for? For example did you train differently for Copenhagen compared to the UK and South Africa?

It’s important to understand the demands of each race and know what challenges you’ll face on race day, so you prepare specifically for each race. For Copenhagen I expected the race to be tactical with some surges throughout the day, so my training was designed to take that into account, which meant that on race day I was ready for what was about to come.

What has the past year been like for you?

2013 has been an important year, making the transition from an amateur triathlete to being a professional. As always there have been some great experiences and some brutal training sessions along the way! I also have the support of some great companies, who allow me to train full-time and compete internationally. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank ISPC Seychelles, Eden Island Marina, Vijay Construction and Air Seychelles for their support and for allowing me to compete at the highest level of triathlon.

What is your proudest achievement of your career to date?

Becoming World Champion in the 18-24 age-group at the 2012 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas (1.2 mile swim – 56 mile bike – 13.1 mile run) was a huge result and one that I’ll always be proud of. Most recently, finishing 4th overall at Ironman Copenhagen in a time of 8:18 is the stand out result of my debut pro season.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Convincing others that being a professional triathlete is a serious job. People see a life of travelling and the smiles at the finish line, but what they don’t see is the process that gets you there - the 4am alarm calls to go training, the intense interval sessions that leave you nauseous or the days where you feel you can barely walk because you’re so worn down. It’s not an easy profession, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else – this is what I was born to do.

What do you miss most about Seychelles when you are away?

It’s tough to say goodbye to family and friends, but it’s never too long until I’m back. I miss the sea, especially when training inland or in the mountains. I’m really looking forward to returning for Christmas and New Year before resuming training for the 2014 season.

If you were not an athlete what would you be doing?

That’s a tough question! I’d likely be using my degree in some context, perhaps working in sports marketing, which is an area I’m very interested in.

What are your goals and aspirations?

I have the highest aspirations within the sport and truly believe that I can be competitive in future World Championship events. At 25, I’ve still got 5-10 years until I reach my athletic peak, so time is on my side. My time of 8:18 is one of the fastest times in history by an athlete in their 20’s, so I’m really excited about what the future holds. I’ll continue to work hard and stay focused on my ultimate ambition of becoming Ironman World Champion.

Business Seychelles would like to wish Nick Baldwin all the very best in his future career. We will follow his journey with enthusiasm and support.