All change for Aileen

Aileen Reid, pictured celebrating with Triathlon Ireland's Chris Jones this year, will travel to Australia to join up with her new coach in January.
Aileen Reid, pictured celebrating with Triathlon Ireland's Chris Jones this year, will travel to Australia to join up with her new coach in January.

LONDONDERRY’S Olympic triathlete, Aileen Reid, formally Morrison, will be changing more than just her surname for 2013 and beyond having opted to part company with her long term coach, Chris Jones.

Reid, who recently married on the island of Waiheke just off the coast of New Zealand is set to leave Triathlon Ireland’s High Performance team as her base for a new tailor-made programme around the world which starts in Australia in January with her new coaching team.

The City of Derry Spartan, will be competing under her new married name this season and will be based in Canberra from January until March with new trainer, Darren Smith and his specially chosen team.

The change comes after Reid’s most successful season where she achieved a world ranking of seventh, qualified for the London 2012 Olympics and finished second at the Madrid World Triathlon not to mention numerous podium finishes at world and continental cup level.

Following her time in Australia, Reid will then race in Auckland, before spending three weeks in Sedona, USA.

This will be followed by a training camp in Europe and races in San Diego, Japan, Madrid and Stockholm, as well as a two-week training block back in Ireland.

“I’ll be heading off to Australia in January for three months,” confirmed Reid. “The World Series will start in Auckland in April, so basically I’ll be travelling with a group of female triathletes and training with them all the time.”

Reid will be in exalted company at her training camp in Australia and the Irish triathlete is looking forward to working with her esteemed coach.

“Previously, he (Darren Smith) trained Lisa Nordén, who’s just won a silver medal at the Olympics, and she also won the World Series, but she’s now just left to have a year out,” explained Reid.

“A few other girls have just left, including Vicky Holland, but there’s still a really good squad of girls there that would rank really highly, Jodie Stimpson from the UK and Kate Roberts from South Africa.

“Training with people who are the best in the world is going to help. I’m going to have to do that if I’m going to get better.”

Reid was identified and coached by High Performance Director Chris Jones since 2007 and he sees the move as an exciting opportunity to continue her progression as one of Ireland’s top athletes.

“I feel strongly that Aileen is at a stage in her career where she needs to be exposed to a higher level training group,” said Jones.

“Darren Smith has a number of top triathletes and Aileen will benefit greatly from training with this group.”

Reid’s year training abroad is to be funded through money from the Republic of Ireland, N. Ireland and personal funds.

And all going to plan, Reid hopes to extend her training programme for a second year, before considering whether to continue with the regime until the Rio Olympics.

“Obviously being from N. Ireland, I have funding from Sport N.I. and The Irish Sports Council,” she says.

“But really I’ll have to rely heavily on my family and husband, who are supportive and who would make sure that I would never be let down.”

Reid has targeted the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as her next major international target before the Rio Olympics.

And she believes that the South American Olympiad may be her swansong in the sport.

“I’m hoping to represent N. Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014,” she said. “Then in 2016, obviously, the Rio Olympics.

“After that I don’t know, but I’d really like to have a family. So, I can go back to teaching PE, and having a normal life. Having a family would be really appealing,” she concluded.