When Penny Slater started competing at national triathlon events, she didn’t see anyone else like her.
The 26-year-old took up triathlon when she finished high school, starting out in cross-triathlon (off-road), before switching to the more traditional long course at the beginning of 2021.
As she competed both nationally and across the globe, the University of Canberra (UC) Elite Athlete saw plenty of heterosexual couples at triathlon events, but never couples of the same sex.
Since coming out to her family early this year, Penny feels the time is now to be a voice of diversity for triathlon, not only to help the younger generation but also to contribute to the sport she loves so much.
“If I had seen someone like me in Canberra, who was proud of the fact they were gay, and competing in triathlon, and taking their girlfriend with them to a race, that would have meant a lot."
Penny is developing a mentorship program set to launch in October, targeted not only at getting women and girls involved in the sport but also at creating a more inclusive, open, and safe space for all triathletes.
Following the race seasons, Slater has spent the past few months in Spain, to train, race and recover.
Penny was one of 40 female triathletes personally selected for one of her most recent events, the Canadian Open, where she placed a respectable 28th.
She’s now preparing for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii scheduled for October.
Penny has been able to base herself out of Spain for the duration of the European triathlon season, largely thanks to the UC Eldon and Anne Foote Scholarship. The athlete was one of 11 UC Elite Athletes who received the $10,000 scholarship, to help them balance sport and study.
Penny has completed her Bachelor of Education and Exercise Science and is now undertaking a Masters in Health Research.
To read more on why representation is important to Penny Slater continue here.
To find out more about the UC Elite Athlete Program continue here.