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Triathletes perform well under tough conditions at Canada Games


ST. CLEMENTS, Man. – Pieter VanLeeuwen and Nick Robertson came across the finish the line seconds apart and then fell to the ground in exhaustion Monday at the Canada Games triathlon in St. Clements, Man.

“They went out and did everything they could today to do well,” Jamie Whynacht, a proud head coach, said as the athletes recovered in a nearby tent. “That moment of falling down at the line just personifies that. They were killing each other in the last 400 metres.”

As the triathletes were tended to on the ground, one of the parents, who wore T-shirts with ‘The Team Behind The Team’ printed on the back, yelled, “We’re so proud of you.”

Whynacht said organizers did a good job to have water and ice towels on the course, but the heat did play a factor in preparing strategy of the event. He said normally they would tell their athletes not to slow down for water for this type of an event, but it was mandatory to rehydrate on Monday with the temperature around 40 C with the humidex. The water temperature was 27C.

There was also some internal competition as Island athletes are fighting to be on the mixed relay team, comprised of two men and two women, on Friday.

“Peter has come so far as a runner in the last year and he has so much to be proud of,” said Whynacht. “Nick is a just a phenomenal, natural runner.”

VanLeeuwen, who holds numerous provincial swim records and is relatively new to triathlon, came out of the water with the top pack of about five swimmers.

Jeremy Neuffer, a top distance runner in P.E.I., was penalized 10 seconds for not having all of his equipment in the box in the transition zone from the swim to the cycle component.

“He dealt with it really well,” Whynacht said. “That concept of having the adversity of running hard in 40 degree temperatures and then being told you have to take a penalty . . . he dealt with it like a tough young man.”

All three came in around 1:12 to finish 23, 24, 25, respectively in the 29-man field. Quebec’s Paul-Alexandre Pavlos Antoniades won the race in 58:13.60.

“There’s a lot to be proud of,” Whynacht said. “We represented ourselves extremely well based on the Atlantic provinces.”

Six women and one man didn’t finish the course. Four of the women were involved in a crash.

The athletes did a 750-metre swim, a 20-kilometre bike and a five-kilometre run at Birds Hill Provincial Park, about 45 minutes from Winnipeg, where the athletes village is located.

Women

Tatiana Kelly, Bridget Keedwell and Siobhan Bergin finished 19, 21 and 24, respectively, out of the 24-women field.

“I was really proud of the girls,” Whynacht said. “The whole team did everything we expected them to do today and I was just very proud of them.”

Their times ranged from 1:17 to 1:26, while British Columbia’s Desirae Ridenour won in 1:04:39.40.

Kelly, a gifted runner, ran down seven competitors in the final leg of the triathlon.

“She’s technically beautiful,” the head coach said. “She has incredible running technique and she’s just a tough kid. When you add those two things together and she’s done all the work she’s supposed to do, then you see those kind of results.”

Results

A look at the Team P.E.I. results from Monday at the Canada Games triathlon competition.

                                        Time        Placement

Women’s

Tatiana Kelly              1:17:54.20       19/24

Bridget Keedwell        1:18:52.10       21/24

Siobhan Bergin            1:26:14.70      24/24

Men’s

Jeremy Neuffer           1:12:31.80       23/29

Pieter VanLeeuwen     1:12:47.50      24/29

Nick Robertson           1:12:48.80       25/29

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