Macarthur triathlete ready to chase her Olympic dream

Natalie Van Coevorden is ready to chase her Olympic dreams.

Natalie Van Coevorden is ready to chase her Olympic dreams.

"If you're the best person in the room, you're in the wrong room."

That's the advice Natalie Van Coevorden needed to hear to pick up stumps in 2020 and make the bold decision to relocate to Portugal.

The Campbelltown resident said that advice from a friend rompted her to chase her dream.

"At that moment, I knew I really needed to trust my instinct and move overseas," Van Coevorden said.

"I knew the girls on the squad [in Portugal] were some of the best in the world and I would be silly not to test myself on a daily basis with them."

Van Coevorden has joined The Triathlon Squad, an elite training group of athletes heralding from ITU to Ironman, coached by Paulo Sousa and based on the beach in Monte Gordo.

The town is a triathlete's dream, with safe and quiet riding, local trail runs and - importantly for Van Coevorden - cheap coffee and pastries.

"It is crazy how many athletes are here at the moment using the facilities and after spending a week here, I can understand why they come," she said.

"I am staying in an apartment with [elite USA triathlete] Summer Rappaport and it's close by to everything that we need to make training and life around training easy."

Of the squad of thirteen, ten are girls, many of whom Van Coevorden already knows from the World Triathlon Series (WTS) circuit.

It's a welcome change for the Macarthur Triathlon Club golden girl, who spent the end of last year coaching herself after the dissolving of the high performance squad in Wollongong.

"I haven't been surrounded by this many people in a long time and it's nice to vary your training with different people in the squad for every session," Van Coevorden said.

"Everyone has been so welcoming."

Van Coevorden has steadily made a name for herself on the international stage, with her first WTS podium at Abu Dhabi in 2018, and her best ever WTS result in Bermuda last year.

The new season begins this March in Abu Dhabi, and as it is an Olympic year, the talented triathlete said she was ready to lay all her cards on the table.

"The start of the season is really important to me as that is our last opportunity to show selectors what I can do before Olympic selection in both individual and the mixed relay," she said.

Van Coevorden has made a defining start to 2020 but she said her life in Monte Gordo is not complete without a few homely comforts.

"I normally have Promite, tins of Sustagen Sport and some Australian coffee beans for my Aeropress," she explains.

"If I could bring one [more] thing, I would bring a yearly supply of café-style raisin toast."