Dream Team Captain: Melissa Hauschildt
It began with an email exchange between two young triathletes (Amy and Ellie Gayer) and one of their heroes, Melissa Hauschildt (then Melissa Rollinson). “Mel” graciously accepted their invitation to be our Team Captain and Dream Team was happy to welcome her as a mentor and role model.
The Rising Star
Melissa’s rise to success began at the age of 11 when she first started athletics, quickly excelling in the 800m and winning the Australian Cross Country Championships (Under 12) the following year. She excelled in the steeplechase during her early teens – winning championships and setting records. At 15, Melissa won her first Australian senior title over 3000m steeplechase and set a World (Junior) Record in the Olympic stadium.
Proving her abilities weren’t confined to steeplechase, Melissa placed eighth in the 1500m at the World Junior Championships and an impressive 14th in the World Junior Cross Country Championships.
After battling injuries for the next several years, Melissa required surgery on a ruptured hamstring tendon In November 2006, followed by stress fractures in her lower back.
In 2008, Melissa made a welcome return to the Australian Championships (finishing second) and competed for the IAAF World Cross Country titles (again finished second) and securing her spot on the Australian team.
Melissa’s Move to Triathlon
In 2010, Melissa once again dominated the field at the Australian Championships to claim her 5th Open 3000m steeplechase crown. Mel’s injuries returned and while cross-training on the bike, she made the decision to change focus from running to triathlon. In the months that followed, Melissa enjoyed a stunning start to her triathlon career with numerous wins and a handful of course records within the space of a few months.
Melissa went on to take victory in her first 3 triathlons, then raced her way into the top 5 at the prestigious Noosa Triathlon and another win in Sydney. Her most significant result was finishing the year with a 2nd place in the Asia Pacific 70.3 Championships in Phuket in December.
In 2011, she made a full-time, dedicated switch to triathlon and went on to be undefeated in her first full year in the Sport. In the process she broke numerous course records and won a handful of major races around the world including the 70.3 World Championships, the 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships and the shorter Olympic distance Noosa Triathlon.