By Cleve Dheensaw, Times Colonist May 19, 2009
Where will the next generation of Canadian triathletes come from when the likes of double Olympic-medallist Simon Whitfield of Victoria eventually hang up the Speedos, bike helmets and running shoes?
You don't have to look too far. Apparently, the kids are alright. Gen Next was on ample display over the weekend as 19-year-old Kyla Coates won the women's junior event and fellow-Victorian Andrew McCartney placed third in the men's Under-23 race at the Pan American championships in Oklahoma City.
"This is a great day and my best race ever," said Coates, in a release.
"It was such a smooth race and things felt effortless today so I am really happy. After last year's finish [fourth place], I really wanted to win today."
The Victorian ate through the 750-metre lake-water swim course, 20-kilometre bike race and five-kilometre run in one hour six minutes, 30 seconds. Rocio Enriquez of Mexico took silver in 1:06:34 and Marianne Hogan of Bedford, Que., the bronze in 1:07:06. Christine Ridenour of Victoria was seventh in 1:08:08.
Coates worked on the run portion of her racing arsenal by clocking 40:12 last month in the Times Colonist 10K, good enough for 31st overall in the women's race.
Expect to see 19-year-old Connor Hammond of London, Ont., extended a future invite to join Coates, McCartney and the others in the Canadian national triathlon training centre in Victoria after Hammond's breakout silver-medal performance in the Pan American men's junior race behind 16-year-old American sensation Luka Verzbicas. Ian Donald of Nepean, Ont., was fourth while Victorians Aaron Thomas and Matt Sharpe crashed the top-10 at seventh and eighth places.
McCartney, a runner and swimmer when he started in sports, says he was inspired to join triathlon by Whitfield's gold-medal performance in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. McCartney got ready for the Pan Am triathlon championships by finishing 18th in the Times Colonist 10K last month in 32:43. His performance for bronze Saturday in the U-23 Pam Am event placed him 12th in the men's open race. Kerry Spearing, another rising Victoria triathlete, was fifth in the women's open race behind winner Mary Beth Ellis of the U.S.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist// load up cookied story font size getStoryFontSize();