New chapter as Ironwoman champion switches clubs
In a shock move, reigning Nutri Grain ironwoman champion Lana Rogers will look to defend her epic surf and sand crown donning a different cap after switching Sunshine Coast clubs.
The 24-year-old announced her decision to leave Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club and join Alexandra Headland Surf Lifesaving Club on Monday, detailing mental health struggles among the reasons behind the call.
"It was time for me to move on," she told the Sunshine Coast Daily.
"I've grown up a lot at Noosa and it was just time for me to leave the nest and grow a little bit more."
In a candid post on social media, Rogers went further to say she'd been battling some personal demons.
"To be honest, I was struggling big time with my mental health as well as the training environment," she said.
"With the small window that I have being a professional ironwoman, I do feel this is the appropriate move for me."
Rogers revealed another big motivator for the switch was being able to push herself against a larger cast of open level athletes, including the men.
She's not alone in the switch either with her coach Sharlene Kelly joining Alex.
"I just love chasing the boys on the board and ski legs and it's a lot better than training by myself," she told the Daily.
"I can still train under my original coach Sharlene Kelly (too) so that's a really good position I'm able to put myself in at the moment."
"We've worked on a lot together for the past three or four years so she's still in my corner and still my coach."
She joins a number of former Noosa athletes at Alexandra Headland, including Jett Kenny, Rhys Burrows, Cooper Williams, Lachie Lansdown, and Jamo Porter.
Rogers thanked all who had backed her over the past few years.
"I've had so much support from most of the Noosa community and truly thankful for it," she said.
Rogers makes the switch on the back of a remarkable surf lifesaving season, taking out the 2019-20 Nutri Grain Ironwoman title.
She won the iconic and arduous Coolangatta Gold during that campaign and continued her run to take out the Maroochy Classic in January.
As a result of the immense success, she was awarded the prestigious Peter Lacey Athlete of the Year award during the Surf Life Saving Queensland Awards of Excellence in August.
The former Australian ironwoman champion enters her new club on the back of strong form too, taking out the inaugural Alex Unbreakable over the weekend.
The event was held at Alexandra Headland as part of the Coolangatta Gold festival, set up for Queensland competitors after the cancellation of the 2020 Coolangatta Gold due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Matt Bevilacqua won the men's race.
It involved a 8km ski, 3km board and 1.5km swim.
After a tough few months due to COVID-19, Rogers said it was a prime chance to test her form ahead of the Nutri-Grain season.
"This off-season I've been doing quite a bit (of training) by myself so it was really good to get that self check happening," she said.
"(I've got my) Fingers crossed for a little bit (of racing in) club carnivals for summer of surf series coming up in November.
"Otherwise, unfortunately, if (that's) not held then (next time I'd race) would be Round 1 of the (Nutri Grain Ironwoman) series which is hopefully kicking off the week before Christmas."