Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEA­TURES - BY CHRIS WILLER

At just 21 years old, Mitchel Aikman has enor­mous talent and po­ten­tial for im­prove­ment with the per­fect mea­sure of fear­less­ness. He’s the real deal.

Based on Van­cou­ver Is­land, Aikman has al­ways been ac­tive with an early cross-coun­try and track ca­reer, and more re­cently, a passion for rugby and weightlift­ing. This mix has made him both fast and strong. Since his in­tro to triathlon in 2011 at a Vic­to­ria sprint distance event, Aikman has be­come a ded­i­cated triath­lete. His part­ner­ship with his coach Dan Smith at Life­s­port Coach­ing has made for im­pres­sive re­sults.

“Mitchel is a down-to-earth guy who dis­cov­ered triathlon with­out com­ing through the ju­nior or high school swim club ranks. When he started, he came from a gym back­ground but quickly showed his po­ten­tial,” says Smith. That po­ten­tial is ob­vi­ous. In 2012 Aikman’s av­er­age Olympic distance times were around 2:50, in 2013 they were in the 2:30s, and in 2014 they were in the 2:20s.

In 2015, Aikman has come into his own as an ath­lete. He was crowned Triathlon B.C. long distance provin­cial cham­pion (M 18–24) with a time of 5 hours flat at the Vic­to­ria 70.3 event, his first at­tempt at the distance. Even at the shorter dis­tances Aikman has posted ex­cel­lent re­sults. He was sec­ond in his age group at the provin­cial sprint cham­pi­onships at the Self-tran­scen­dence Triathlon, a clas­sic Vic­to­ria race that’s been around for 36 years. At that race a year be­fore, Aikman ham­mered the tech­ni­cal 10 km run course with a sub-40 minute achieve­ment. For ref­er­ence, his stand­alone 10 km time this year at the chal­leng­ing Cob­ble Hill road race was 38:06. Among his pal­mares, Aikman came in the top ten in his age group at the 2014 Es­cape from Al­ca­traz, an­other rigourous race.

Aikman’s sea­son high­light was his PB at the Subaru Van­cou­ver Triathlon, where he was sec­ond in his age group in a time of 2:10. Aikman says he is lucky to train along­side Life­s­port ath­letes who reg­u­larly in­spire him in­clud­ing Brent Mcma­hon who swims one lane over from him dur­ing work­outs.

Be­yond triathlon, Aikman is ac­tive out­doors with his fam­ily and friends. He works in the res­tau­rant busi­ness as he pur­sues his goals. Smith in­sists part of Aikman’s suc­cess comes from be­ing “a well-bal­anced per­son, who en­joys the ca­ma­raderie of the train­ing, push­ing him­self in com­pe­ti­tion, but still wants to hang out with his friends at the lake on the week­end. Triathlon and train­ing isn’t all-con­sum­ing. That’s pretty rare as there is al­ways so much pres­sure, both from within and out­side to per­form.” That at­tribute clearly makes Aikman stand out.

His 2015 sea­son cul­mi­nated at the ITU Chicago World Grand Fi­nal Age Group Cham­pi­onships. He’s look­ing for­ward to fur­ther gains in the sport. Aikman summed up his con­nec­tion to triathlon by say­ing, “I just love the at­mos­phere. I like the day be­fore a race, when get­ting set up, and the feeling of rac­ing. It makes me want to keep com­ing back.”

Dr. Chris Willer is a Toronto-based psy­chi­a­trist and has par­tic­i­pated in triathlons for the past 17 years.

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