A group of Bermuda’s talented juniors and parents are headed to Ottawa this week to compete this weekend in the Ottawa Triathlon.
Leading the way will be Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley who will participate in the junior elite event over 750m swim, 20km draft legal bike and 5km run ,which is the Canadian Junior Elite 16-19 National Championships and part of the CAMTRI series (CAMTRI is the Americas Triathlon Federation that includes South, Central and North America). Tyler and Erica have continued to impress this year after excellent 2015 seasons and have both qualified for the 16-19 junior elite world championships in Mexico in September.
Coached by Kelly Guest, one of the leading Canadian junior coaches, they are both familiar with many of the Canadians that will be vying for top honours including a number of juniors coached by Kelly with whom they have trained.
Nick Pilgrim has already been competing at youth elite level (13-15) for two years now and produced some very promising results on the North American youth elite circuit. Despite being only 13 he has generally finished in the top third of the very competitive fields and been either the fastest or top three amongst 13 year olds. He has a good chance of placing in the top ten in this event .
Caleb Ingham is another youth athlete who has been in the sport for a number of years and he will need all of that experience as he steps up to the youth elite level. Much will depend on his swim as that will determine whether he gets into a group for the draft legal bike and which group he is in. Last year Caleb was 19th in the Quebec Cup in Magog in the 11-12 age category but this event will be a big step up for him with the draft legal format.
The youth elite event will consist of a 500m swim, 10km bike and 2.6km run.
Ingham is part of the Tri Hedz triathlon club and a number of Tri Hedz juniors will be competing in the Kids of Steel events over various age group distances. The Kids of Steel races in Canada are very popular and attract strong junior fields from ages 5 to 13. Tri Hedz have been sending teams to these races for over 20 years and a number of these juniors have already competed in these events for a few years now.
Last year the Tri Hedz juniors travelled to Magog to compete. Bermuda’s juniors performed very well with Jasmin Hasselkuss winning the girls under 9 age group by over a minute ( a big gap over such short distances) beating out 28 other girls and finishing 5th out of 63 boys and girls.
Blake Oliviera also made the podium finishing 2nd (out of 43) in the under 11 boys with Zoe Hasselkuss 7th in the girls division (out of 62).
Lindsay Smith (22nd), Megan Hands (26th) and Lianna Medeiros (27th) also finished in the top half of their age groups last year at Magog and will be looking to crack the top 20 this year.
Amber Simons was not in Magog last year but is a very talented junior and should do well in her age group.
Four parents (Karen Smith, Otis Ingham, Dirk Haselkuss and Karen Smith) will compete in the bike draft legal Sprint Triathlon for adults. The draft legal format is unusual at the age group amateur level so the event should prove interesting although with such a wide range of bike handling skills I suspect that the key will be to stay out of trouble when riding in a group which might contain triathletes who are not used to racing in packs as, unlike in Bermuda, the majority of triathletes do not compete in bike races as well. Expect Karen Smith to be one of the top women in the event.
The full list of juniors and adults going
Zoe Hasselkuss (KOS), Jasmin Hasselkuss (KOS), Lindsay Smith (KOS), Megan Hands (KOS), Caleb Ingham(youth elite), Liana Medeiros (KOS), Amber Simons (KOS), Blake Oliveira (KOS), Nick Pilgrim (youth elite),Tyler Smith (junior elite), Erica Hawley (junior elite), Otis Ingham (sprint draft legal), Karen Smith (sprint draft legal),Dirk Hasselkuss (sprint draft legal),Tom Hands (sprint draft legal)
FPR MORE INFORMATION ON THE OTTAWA TRIATHLON EVENTS, RACE TIMES, DISTANCES AND RESULTS GO HERE