Ath­lete tests the wa­ters

Guardian Express - - NEWS - By JU­LIAN WRIGHT

A FEW years ago, duath­lete and triath­lete Kather­ine Ryan (48) still could not swim af­ter she was trau­ma­tised by a neardrown­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as a child.

She is now a world cham­pion.

The mother of four self­funded a trip to Canada in Au­gust to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia at the ITU Duathlon World Cham­pi­onship.

She was one of 3000 com­peti­tors who took on a 10km run, 40km cy­cle and 5km run and won the 45 to 49-year-old age group by four sec­onds.

In Septem­ber, Ryan com­peted in the ITU Stan­dard Triathlon World Cham­pi­onships in Rot­ter­dam, tak­ing on a 1.5km swim, 40km cy­cle and 10km run and com­ing in sev­enth place, giv­ing her a world rank­ing.

Now back in Perth, the Beatty Park Leisure Cen­tre in­struc­tor and per­sonal trainer is pre­par­ing for the ITU Stan­dard Triathlon World Cham­pi­onships on the Gold Coast next year.

“Ever since I was lit­tle I was ath­letic, any team sport or gym­nas­tics at school; I was not aca­demic,” she said.

“But I had to learn how to swim. All I could do was float and I nearly drowned when I was nine. I lost my board, I was pulled under, it was a bad sit­u­a­tion.

“Then I came to a coun­try where I’m sur­rounded by wa­ter, so I chose a job that in­cor­po­rates me hav­ing to swim 200m in four dif­fer­ent strokes.

“Then a girl­friend asked me to swim to Rot­tnest in a group and so I trained for that and got through it.”

Ryan’s dreams of world cham­pion sta­tus were al­most put on hold when she was di­ag­nosed with a form of rheuma­toid arthri­tis about four years ago.

“I was in pain ev­ery day for five months, but I had to keep mov­ing,” she said.

“On­go­ing iron man train­ing en­hanced things and I qual­i­fied for a com­pe­ti­tion in Hawaii, but I got there and ev­ery­thing seized up.

“I fin­ished, got the shirt but thought I’d never do it again.

“It’s now under con­trol.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d476050

World cham­pion duath­lete and Beatty Park in­struc­tor Kather­ine Ryan with Mayor Emma Cole.

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