A new professional nine-person triathlon team – the first in Australia – is launching at a free public event for the public in North Beach on November 19. Better Tri Us is the brainchild of Simon Billeau, a French pro athlete who fell in love with Australia and now calls Perth home.
His aim is to give back to the triathlon community by supporting some deserving and talented athletes to pursue their "big dream". "Our sport is so much more than just swimming, riding and running," Simon said. "At its core, it is about community and connecting people in their quest to lead a healthy lifestyle and achieve personal goals.
The objective of the team is to support each individual to reach their potential and their dream – our motto is to 'dream big'. We believe that training together, sharing good values, experience and being part of a team project would help to exceed our expectations and sporting level."
As well as Simon, the team features Busselton, Malaysia and MetaMan ironman Courtney Ogden, para-triathlete Lauren Parker, long-distance duathlete Thomas Bruins, Elite Australian team member Kenji Nener, Rottnest swim champion Paul Laver, Elite Canadian team member Michael Lori, WA champion Oli Stenner and amateur-but-soon-to-be-pro Kate Vernon. Their average age is 33.2 and, among them, they have won five ironmans, 23 half-ironmans, eight Continental Cups and placed five times on the podium of world cups.
Busselton and Malaysian ironman Courtney Ogden is part of the Better Tri Us team.
Courtney Ogden won the Busselton ironman, as well as Malaysia and MetaMan.
Oli Stenning is the junior of the team and WA champion back to back on the Olympic distance.
Thomas Bruins is one of the best long distance duathletes in the world.
Kenji Nener is part of the Elite Australian team and should get his qualification for Tokyo 2020.
Michael Lori is Australian but represents Canada. He is part of the Elite Canadian team and should get his qualification for Tokyo 2020.
Lauren Parker was pro until April 18, 2017, when she had a very bad crash during her bike training. She is now paralysed from the waist down with only a one per chance of walking again, according to surgeons. She now trains as a para-triathlete.
Kate Vernon is the only age-grouper (amateur) but is close to getting her pro licence.
Paul Laver is an elite swimmer who has won the Rottnest swim by team of four, team of two and as an individual in 2014. He is going to race at ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series in Sweden.
Simon Billeau is looking for a fresh start in his career by breaking eight hours in an ironman competition and going back to Hawaii to compete.
After almost dying in 2013, Simon Billeau has regained his fitness level and spawned Better Tr Us, Australia's first professional triathlon team.
Simon did his first triathlon in 1999 and fell in love with the sport, achieving his pro licence in 2008 – but a bad bicycle-versus-car crash in New Zealand in 2013 saw him almost die with five surgeries necessary to get back to his fitness level. "I've learnt in life not everything is about business," he said. "A lot of the athletes in the team are close friends and most of them had a positive impact on my life when I needed it. It's time to give back and help them reach their goals."
The free launch event for the public, from midday to 5pm, November 19, is an opportunity to meet the Better Tri Us pro team, learn more and gain tips on triathlon competition. One bike will be auctioned to help raise money for para-triathlete Lauren Parker's rehabilitation and there is also a chance to win another bike by guessing its weight.
To attend the event at 24B Edgefield Way, North Beach, email email@example.com. You can find out more about Better Tri Us by going to their website, Instagram account and Facebook page.