The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Pluimers’ will to win grows

- DAMIEN STAN­NARD

@dstanno LIZ Pluimers’ ironwo­man ti­tle de­fence hangs on her abil­ity to jug­gle an over­whelm­ing bat­tery of com­mit­ments and de­liver away from home.

The win­ner of this sum­mer’s Nutri-Grain Iron­man and Ironwo­man Se­ries will be crowned at Cronulla, the sec­ond of two NSW legs on the pro­fes­sional surf life­sav­ing cir­cuit.

That leaves Pluimers with at least another ob­sta­cle in her path when she re­news her ri­valry with Court­ney Han­cock in the sea­son opener at Coolum on Novem­ber 28.

The North Burleigh cham­pion’s early up­bring­ing on the Dar­ling Downs and in south­west Queens­land has taught her to em­brace hard work.

Those val­ues serve her well as the Bach­e­lor of Com­merce stu­dent man­ages plan­ning for next month’s wed­ding, train­ing, com­pet­ing and a day job with ac­coun­tancy firm Baker Af­fleck Mof­frey.

“I’m def­i­nitely busy but I like ev­ery­thing in mod­er­a­tion,” she said. “Some­times I wish I was a full­time pro­fes­sional ath­lete but when one thing doesn’t go well it’s nice to have some­thing else to fo­cus on.’’

Pluimers must be re­garded among her sport’s greats af­ter join­ing Karla Gil­bert, Kristy Harris and Han­cock as three­time win­ners of the Nutri-Grain se­ries in Jan­uary.

The 28-year-old also owns two Coolan­gatta Gold crowns and a pair of Aus­tralian ironwo­man na­tional ti­tles.

With ev­ery tro­phy earned, Pluimers teases she might be closer to re­tire­ment and this sea­son she is again wrap­ping mys­tery around her in­ten­tions.

“I’m pretty sure this one will be my last, but if I do well you never know,” she said.

Pluimers must at­tack her ti­tle de­fence with­out the safety net of a home round af­ter the Gold Coast was over­looked in the 2015-16 sea­son sched­ule.

The pro­fes­sional se­ries will again com­prise six rounds, start­ing at the Sun­shine Coast, Rounds 3 and 4 at New­cas­tle, on De­cem­ber 19 and 20, and the fi­nale at Cronulla on Jan­uary 16 and 17.

Con­test

di­rec­tor

Zane Holmes said it was im­por­tant to take the se­ries to a va­ri­ety of lo­ca­tions to show­case the sport to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“These are some of the fittest ath­letes on the planet – all pos­sess­ing in­cred­i­ble surf skills,’’ Holmes said.

“These venues give us the op­por­tu­nity to wit­ness in­tense rac­ing in de­mand­ing surf con­di­tions at spec­ta­tor-friendly lo­ca­tions.’’

Ali Day, who broke through for his first Nutri-Grain crown last sea­son, is one of sev­eral high-pro­file club switches dur­ing the off-sea­son.

Day has linked with Surfers Par­adise, with his for­mer Mooloolaba club­mate Matt Poole mov­ing to Cur­rumbin.

For­mer Mooloolaba club­bies Amy and Kar­lee Nur­th­ern also have switched to Cur­rumbin.

There has been no change in the al­le­giance of iron­man great Shan­non Eck­stein from North­cliffe.

His mis­sion is to win back his crown from Day.

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