TODAY, SEYCHELLES | April 2013, By Niki Gower

Nick Baldwin soars in South Africa. Opens professional career with great result.

Nick Baldwin, the country's first and only professional triathlete, has launched his career with fantastic results. After a warm up at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon in March, Nick headed off to South Africa to train for his first ever event as a professional triathlete - Ironman South Africa held in Port Elizabeth last Sunday.

"After training in South Africa for four weeks I was looking forward to my debut race as a professional and confident of achieving a good result. A competitive professional field assembled for the race, including a past Ironman World Champion and multiple Ironman Champions", Nick tells TODAY Sports.

The event features a 3.8km ocean swim, a 180.2km bike ride and a 42.2km run. Nick achieved an impressive result finishing 12th overall and 11th in his division. 

"Athletes were greeted with choppy seas, making conditions challenging for everyone competing. After completing the swim in 54:21 I was confident of having a good bike ride over the next 180km and making up places. After a new personal best (PB) of 4:45:32 on the bike, I was outside the top-15 and had some catching up to do on the marathon", explains Nick.

"With little cloud cover and temperatures into the high 20's, it was tough to maintain a high pace throughout the run. Despite slowing slightly towards the end, I finished the run with another PB, narrowly missing the 3 hour margin with a 3:03:58 run split for a total finish time of 8:48:01 and a 12th place finish and a huge 22 minute PB". 

Nick continues to fly the Seychelles flag as he crosses the finish line, and with such fantastic results at his professional debut he is putting the country on the map in the global triathlon arena.

"Breaking the 9 hour mark in an Ironman has been a goal of mine for a long time and thanks to the support of sponsors - ISPC Seychelles, Eden Island Marina, Vijay Construction and Air Seychelles - I've achieved this feat', adds Nick. "I'll now resume my training schedule in France for the next 6 weeks before my next race in Europe in June".

TODAY Sports congratulates Nick for his fantastic achievements and wishes him the best for his training and upcoming event.