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Meet the Coach Ready to Help Lucy Charles-Barclay Realize Her Olympic Dreams

Dan Lorang is excited to see what the reigning 70.3 world champion can do in short- and long-course racing.

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He’s quietly become one of the greatest triathlon coaches in the world—and now Dan Lorang is working to help one of the sport’s favorite stars achieve her Olympic dreams. Lorang, who coached both Jan Frodeno and Anne Haug to their 2019 Ironman world titles, has teamed up with Charles-Barclay to guide her in her bid to continue racing at the highest level on the long-course scene as well as qualify for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. 

Lorang, who is the first and only coach to train both the male and female Kona champions in the same year, said: “This is an exciting project that came a little bit out of nowhere, but at the beginning of 2021 I read that Lucy wants to race short distance for Paris and that she had this dream of the Olympic Games.”

He said he later met with Charles-Barclay and her team and they all talked about the possibilities and opportunities. Lorang, who first began working with Frodeno back in 2013, approached the conversation with the same level of curiosity, interest, expertise, and passion that he applies to all of his work, whether that’s with his stable of pro triathletes or in his role as the head coach and head of innovation at the Bora-Hansgrohe professional cycling team.

“I wanted to know how they [Charles-Barclay and her team] wanted to do this,” he said. The demands of short-course training and racing are, of course, entirely different to that of long-course performance, which Lorang is acutely aware of, especially when it comes to coaching elite athletes. 

The meeting of minds clearly went well, as he said: “Shortly afterwards, they came back to me and asked if I would like to head up her training. For me, it’s a nice challenge, a nice opportunity.”

Up until that time, Reece Charles-Barclay, Lucy’s husband, had been coaching her. The agreement with Lorang has seen Reece remain the day-to-day coach for his wife, while Lorang—who lives in Germany—plans the sessions and the program for the build-up towards the overall goals.

As Haug has been a long-time friend and athlete of Lorang’s—and she is obviously a direct competitor with the Brit—he first asked her permission before agreeing to take on the role. “It was not a problem for Annie, it was all fine, which was really important for me.”

Last year, Charles-Barclay made a surprise ITU debut at WCS Leeds in June, finishing an impressive fifth after just 11 days notice from the British Tri Federation that she would be on the start line. This was after a strong performance at the British Olympic Swimming Trials, where she finished second in the 1500m, just 0.17 of a second behind the winner. Lorang and Charles-Barclay officially began working together after the trials, kicking off their training on April 14.

Her performances last year have all been highly encouraging for Lorang. “We’ve had some good competitions where I’ve been able to see how her body is responding to the new training. It all looks to be fine, so hopefully we can continue this way and have a good collaboration in the next years,” he said. “This is something I’ve said to Lucy, it’s not about one season, it is about the next few years. That’s what I’m looking for.”

And while Lorang is obviously looking through a long-term lens, there’s no denying 2022 could be an action-packed year. He said: “There’s a big year ahead if everything goes according to plan. For Jan, Anne, and Lucy we will have two long-distance world championships [St. George in May, and Kona in October], and additionally, for Lucy, there is also the Sub8 project.” And, then the Olympics?