Last year in the toughest of summer sports, Poole took the extraordinary step of dying his hair pink and wearing a matching pair of cossies on beaches right around the country in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Now he is at it again, taking the unlikely step of preparing for this year’s Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan Series in a little country town in Austria.
That’s right, Austria, a place as far away as you are likely to get from the beaches of Sydney, where he grew up, or the Sunshine Coast, where he now plies his trade.
The 23-year-old with the infectious smile and model’s good looks, who was second to ironman god Shannon Eckstein in last year’s Nutri-Grain Series, spent a week in Thalgau, just outside of Salzburg, at Red Bull’s high-tech international Diagnostic and Training Centre.
“When I joined Red Bull’s athlete program this off season they offered me the chance to go over to Austria and spend some time at their Diagnostic and Training Centre,” Poole said.
“It’s not really something that I had ever expected and I am just grateful that I was given an opportunity like this to get better as an athlete.
“It might sound a bit strange for an Australian surf ironman to train in Austria and I am certain it’s not been done in our sport before but I can take loads of information away from this experience and use it as a powerful tool.
“My coaches, physio’s and sport psych’s can now analyse and structure a program custom to best suit and help me improve and reach my full potential. Hopefully it will even give me the edge in training and racing this summer.”
WIN one of 10 Budgy Smuggler swim packs
How to overcome your fear of the ocean
Champion surf ironmen reveal their Banzai side
The Red Bull DTC is a state of the art sport science facility that provides athletes with physical and psychological testing that can be measured against athletes from other sports and adapted to each individual’s sport specific training needs.
Poole stood out in several of the physical tests, was outstanding in the psychological exams measuring concentration and had excellent medical and body composition results.
He was also able to pinpoint some areas to work on with coach Michael King back in Mooloolaba.
But it was in the physical testing that Poole shone the brightest. So stunning was his performance on an arm crank machine that he smashed the previous record for the Centre, held jointly by an Austrian swimmer and a Canadian kayaker, by more than five per cent.
“It was a really tough few days both physically and mentally but after this week it is no surprise to me why Red Bull has the best athletes in the world,” Poole said.
“The reason is because they have the best facilities and programs in place to assist, help, teach, rehabilitate and improve their athletes. If they’re not already at the top of their chosen sport, they can provide everything needed to help them to get there."Poole becomes the first professional ironman to join Red Bull's athlete program, after winning the Red Bull Rookie of the Year award in last year’s IronMan Series.
The Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan Series is a national six-race competition that begins at Surfers Paradise on December 18.