club pro­file

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - CONTENTS - By Jennifer Faraone

Ed­mon­ton Triathlon Academy

Ed­mon­ton has hosted a num­ber of world-class events, in­clud­ing sev­eral ITU World Triathlon Cups at Hawre­lak Park where three Ed­mon­ton area ath­letes – Paula Find­lay, Paul Tichelaar and Carol Mont­gomery – got their start. All three went on to rep­re­sent Canada at the Olympics. Given this pedigree, it makes sense that Ed­mon­ton would cre­ate a high­per­for­mance lo­cal train­ing cen­tre – the Ed­mon­ton Triathlon Academy ( eta) – with a pri­mary fo­cus on coach­ing and de­vel­op­ing lo­cal younger ath­letes to their po­ten­tial. The legacy dol­lars from host­ing itu events funded the build­ing of the cen­tre in 2010 and, by 2013, it was rec­og­nized by Triathlon Canada as a re­gional train­ing cen­tre.

There are cur­rently 15 lo­cal-area youth and ju­nior ath­letes, 10 U23 ath­letes and six age group se­niors. Many ath­letes are selected based on their swim, bike and run po­ten­tial as per Triathlon Canada’s Ris­ing Stars Pro­gram. Ath­letes have ac­cess to top-notch fa­cil­i­ties such as the Kins­men Sport Cen­tre, and plans are cur­rently un­der­way to build North Amer­ica’s first in­door high per­for­mance triathlon train­ing cen­tre –the Corona­tion Com­mu­nity Re­cre­ation Cen­tre. The fa­cil­ity will in­clude a world-class, in­ter­na­tional-stan­dard 220 m velo­drome, a run­ning track and a con­nec­tion to the 50 m Peter Hem­ing­way Pool.

Ath­letes also have ac­cess to in­ter­na­tional coach­ing ex­per­tise with head coach Kevin Clark (a for­mer elite triath­lete who com­peted in­ter­na­tion­ally from 1999-2005), Raeleen Hunter (a for­mer cis track cham­pion) and Ste­fan Schreiber (a for­mer long dis­tance triath­lete). Clark, who has played a key role in eta’s de­vel­op­ment and is the se­nior de­vel­op­ment coach for Al­berta’s Train­ing Cen­tre, brings a rich­ness of coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that has taken his ath­letes to nu­mer­ous world cham­pi­onships and qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the 2008 Olympic Games. “The chal­lenge to grow a pro­gram from scratch re­ally mo­ti­vated me to work with the eta,” ex­plains Clark. “Cana­di­ans are amaz­ing ath­letes to work with and it’s very re­ward­ing to help them grow and suc­ceed at a provin­cial, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional level.”

In just a few short years, the eta has al­ready be­gun to deliver on its vi­sion of fos­ter­ing a win­ning en­vi­ron­ment and an op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed. For in­stance, Clark and two Academy ath­letes, Jessie Lilly and Evan­ge­line Maun­der, were cho­sen to rep­re­sent Team Al­berta at the 2013 Canada Sum­mer Games and the team took home four medals – the most the prov­ince has ever won at the games. An­other Academy ath­lete, Ja­son Jama, has made two U23 duathlon world teams while Kris Loshack the World Cup stan­dard times.

But it’s not just for young up-and-com­ing ath­letes. The eta also has an age group pro­gram which in­cludes many of the par­ents and grand­par­ents of the younger Academy ath­letes. “Triathlon is a unique sport that ap­peals to gen­er­a­tional par­tic­i­pa­tion and we are happy to be able to pro­vide age groupers the op­por­tu­nity to train and re­ceive coach­ing along­side the younger ath­letes,” ex­plains Bernie Poitras, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing man­ager for the itu World Triathlon Grand Fi­nal Ed­mon­ton 2014. In ad­di­tion to its fo­cus on ath­lete de­vel­op­ment, the eta continues to play a strong role in com­mu­nity lead­er­ship through its event man­age­ment stream that over­sees the itu Grand Fi­nal World Triathlon Cham­pi­onship tak­ing place Aug. 26 through Sept. 1, 2014. It has also part­nered with Tran­sCanada Corp. to fund projects in­volv­ing lo­cal youth clubs and or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the Boys and Girls Club and Big Broth­ers Big Sis­ters.

With its strong vi­sion, high-per­form­ing de­vel­op­ing ath­letes and com­mu­nity sup­port, one can’t help but won­der whether it’s just a mat­ter of time be­fore the eta pro­duces Canada’s next up-and-comer on the in­ter­na­tional triathlon scene. Ei­ther way, the Academy is well po­si­tioned to put Ed­mon­ton back on the world stage leading up to the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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