Sending waves of support over the ditch
OLIVIA Corrin knew from the first time she saw an ironwoman race on TV that she wanted to be a champion in the event.
A decade ago, she was in the lounge watching a replay of the Nutri-Grain IronWoman series and knew from that moment it was going to be her pathway.
Now, competing in the series for the third time, she said it was exciting for her sport to be covered live on TV for the first time in New Zealand.
“That's where it all started for me . . . watching it on TV when I was 10 or 11.
“It's going to have a huge impact for future generations of New Zealand surf sport athletes to be able to see it live.”
Having dedicated herself to the sport, the Gisborne-born athlete now lives on Australia's Gold Coast, saying her hand was forced if she wanted access to the higher-level coaching on offer over the ditch.
With two training sessions on a typical day, Corrin said she studies towards her BA in Education through Massey University between sessions and fits in her job as a waitress in the evenings.
“I finish at 9 or 9.30, which gives me enough time for dinner, then it's into bed. I've got a really good routine going.”
Her journey to the start line of the IronWoman series began at five years of age, as a nipper starting at Dawson Building Midway Surf Life Saving Club.
She credits her time with Midway as one of the reasons she's competing at the level she is today.
Corrin has also competed for the Black Fins — the New Zealand surf lifesaving team — at the world championships, the International Surf Rescue Challenge and the Sanyo Cup.
“Cory Hutchings was my hero growing up; he used to coach me at Midway SLSC when I was younger and I remember watching him on TV,” she says in her athlete bio.
This season she comes into the Nutri-Grain series as the “fittest and strongest” she's ever been, saying the preparation she's done puts her in good stead to push the limits of her competitors.
Corrin had to pull out midway through the series in the past two seasons due to injury. She had a stress fracture in her tibia in 2020 and a muscle tear in her shoulder in 2021.
She nearly missed her opportunity again this year. She was ill in the week leading into the trials, but did not want to let her hard work go to waste, and didn't want to use her illness as an excuse.
“It did put a bit of doubt in my mind but I had some really good races over that weekend.”
Although her energy was depleted when she was ill, Corrin battled through and finished the trials in eighth place. She sneaked into the series as a wildcard — the first seven finishers earned automatic entry.
Unable to return to New Zealand for the past two years due to travel concerns, she immersed herself in her training.
“It's been a good 18 months, and I've had my best off-season prep.”
The last time she came home to compete, in 2019, she was unable to return to Australia amid travel restrictions.
“It was a hiccup being stuck at home for three months . . . stuck at home in winter training on my own.”
She had dealt with homesickness when she first travelled overseas to train and compete, she said.
It hadn't been easy for her being away from family for so long, or for them being unable to visit Australia to support her because of Covid concerns.
But with her races broadcast live for the first time in New Zealand, it was exciting to know her family would be crowded around the TV.
“I'm so happy they can watch me, so even though they aren't physically there, I know they'll still be watching and supporting as I compete.”
Corrin will be joined in the series by fellow Midway-turned-Northcliffe surf club member Cory Taylor, who will be live in action on the men's side of the series.
Round 1 of the Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series starts this afternoon, with coverage from 2pm (NZT) on SkySport 9. Coverage of Round 2 starts at 1pm tomorrow and of Round 3 at 2pm on Sunday, all on SkySport 9.