STRONG AND STEADY
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.