Fifteen years after he made his debut on the sands of Kurrawa in 2007, Matt Poole has come full circle as he prepares to race in his last Nutri-Grain IronMan Series this weekend at Kurrawa, on the Gold Coast.

The 2017 Nutri-Grain IronMan Series Champion announced his retirement from the sport today at Northcliffe SLSC on the Gold Coast and said that the time was right to hang up his togs at the end of the 2022 season. 

“I’m so happy and it just feels right,” Poole said  

“I thought I was going to be a bit sad and nervous about it, or that I wasn’t making the right call. 

“After 15 years and so much time and sacrifice and dedication in the sport and receiving so much support from everyone, it just feels like the perfect timing for me right now and I’m really happy with my decision.” 

As an Under 17 competing for Queenscliff SLSC, Poole took out the inaugural U17 Australian IronMan title in 2005, in what was a first glimpse of a long ironman career.  

“I still so vividly remember that race down to every detail, I knew that I had a reasonable amount of natural talent but I never saw myself as one of those stars of the age group of anything like that,” Poole said of his first Australian title. 

“I won the U17 Australian Ironman title at Kurrawa beach, and that was by far one of the biggest results of my career and I was just in shock – I remember the whole day just thinking I can’t believe that happened.” 

Just two years later, Poole got his big break into the professional Nutri-Grain IronMan Series after a stella win in the U19 Australian Ironman title in Perth and launched his 15-year long Ironman career. 

“Two years later we were over in Perth, I was competing for Northcliffe and I went on and won the U19 Australia Ironman title,” Poole said 

“To win that day, that actually launched my professional Irons series career – that gave me automatic qualification into the Nutri-Grain Ironman Series for 2007.” 

In a host of moments across a decade and a half, Poole’s greatest career highlight was his phenomenal win against Ironman legend Shannon Eckstein in 2017 at North Cronulla where he was crowned the Nutri-Grain Ironman Series champion after 10-year’s in the Series. 

“You can’t script certain finishes in sport and what a lot of people don’t know is that leading into my tenth year in the series Shannon was going for his tenth series title. He’d announced that week that if he won this title he was retiring and he was hanging up the togs,” Poole said of the biggest moment in his career.  

“He was the red-hot favourite to win the series, he was at the top of his game and he hadn’t been beaten in months prior to that. That Sunday in the final race, we went into that last round tied on the point score so no matter what happened whoever won that day out of Shanno or I, had won the series. 

“I got myself into the third and final race of the eliminator style race and I just remember Dad saying ‘you’ve got to give it your all’, so I went in with nothing to lose. 

“That race we ended up in a sprint finish up the beach and I beat Shannon by a couple of meters and beat him by one point and won my first series title – it was crazy.” 

With his sights set on the future and his next chapter, Poole said that he has plenty to look forward to and is excited for the change. 

“The biggest one is becoming a Dad, I’m really really excited about becoming a Dad,” said Poole. 

“I’m going to have my hands full, I thought I was getting out of getting up early for swim training but now I’m getting up for a different reason. 

“But it’s the next chapter, and change is scary but now moving into this next chapter it’s refreshing and exciting and there’s lots to look forward to. 

It seems only fitting that Poole will return this weekend to Kurrawa for the final four rounds of the 2022 Nutri-Grain IronMan Series, where he made his debut in 2007 to round out his career. 

“My first ever Nutri-Grain Series race was at Kurrawa so it’s kind of ironic that after 86 series races and 15 years that I’m finishing at Kurrawa as well,” Poole said.  

Poole will line up for the final four rounds of the Nutri-Grain IronMan Series at Kurrawa from Thursday 4 February to Sunday 6 February, which will be broadcast nationally from 12PM on Channel 9 network. 

To read more about Matt Poole  – click here.  

For more details on the Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series – click here.