Swim, run, bike ... plenty tri

LYNNE BERMEL, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:01 PM ET

The triathlon season got off with a splash yesterday -- in the Carleton University pool.

From there, some 800 participants swam, then biked and ran their way to reach the finish line in the university parking lot alongside the canal for the 12th annual Early Bird Triathlon.

The field covered the landscape -- from competitors like Bruno Lafontaine, 29, a 15-year triathlon veteran who had just come back from Saint Croix, USVI where he finished among the top 20 pros in the Half Ironman to 11-year-old Jakob Dean who was racing in his first triathlon.

"The swim was the hardest part," said Dean at the finish line, where he proudly showed off his finisher's medal for the Freedhoff Try-a-Tri event (100 swim/11-km bike and 2-km run), which he completed in 1:02:05.

"I swallowed some water and it was hard to breathe ... but the biking and running were fun," Dean said, adding that he had made a pact with his mother, Mary Lou, to stay with her until the run leg.

"Then I was history," laughed Mary Lou, a phys-ed teacher at St. Joseph High School in Barrhaven, who finished a minute and a half behind her son.

"This is such a neat event. It's a great atmosphere," she said. "It was here where I did my first triathlon seven years ago to celebrate my 40th birthday. It got me hooked. "

Dean also had six of her students racing yesterday in the marquee event -- the sprint triathlon (500m swim/22-k m bike/5-km run) -- as part of the curriculum for her gym class.

"They had their choice between this event, racing the Nordion 10K next weekend or cycling the Perth to Kingston leg of the Rideau Lakes Bike Tour. They had to register, do a training plan, follow through with the training and will provide a written assignment on the whole experience."

For Lafontaine, yesterday's sprint triathlon was all about lessons in leg speed.

He finished 45 seconds behind winner Andrew Courchene, the 2008 Ontario Junior Elite Bronze medalist. (Lafontaine was 1:05:14 while Courchene was 1:04:33). Courchene's Bytown Storm teammate, Tristan Woodfine, was third in 1:06:46.

"There were some fast young guys out there." said Lafontaine, who is a Gatineau-based triathlon coach. "I've been doing a lot of long distance training alone. This was a great tune up to get that snap back in my legs."

Amateur scene

Ottawa athletes of the year, Angus Mortimer and Rhys Hill, along with their Rideau Canoe Club teammates Ryan Cochrane, Kristin Gauthier, Corey Hamilton, Emily Raymond and Tory Tuttle, qualified to paddle for Canada on a European tour in Poland, Hungary and Germany ... At the Canadian Junior Badminton Championships in Edmonton, the R.A. Badminton Club's Joseph Rogers (under 23) and Sergiy Shatenko (under 19) struck silver. Qufei Chen in the under 16 division and Andrew D'Souza (boys under 16) reached the semi- finals.

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TRY-A-TRI (100M SWIM, 11K CYCLE, 2K RUN)

TOP MEN

Jason Sinkus, Orleans, 39:22

Paul Newcombe, Nepean, 40:03

Michael Desroches, Ottawa, 40:32

TOP WOMEN

Rebecca Leduc, Ottawa, 43:37

Lisa Woodley, Ottawa, 44:08

Eleanor Fast, Ottawa, 46:00

SPRINT TRIATHLON (500M SWIM, 22K BIKE, 5K RUN)

TOP MEN

Andrew Courchene, Carleton Place, 1:04:33

Bruno Lafontaine, Gatineau, 1:05:14

Tristan Woodfine, Cobden, 1:06:46

TOP WOMEN

Annie-Claude Gaudet, Gatineau, 1:14:10

Lindsay Anderson, Ottawa, 1:14:19

Jade Gregory, Kanata, 1:19:16

LONG COURSE TRIATHLON (500M SWIM/34K BIKE/5K RUN)

TOP MEN

Chad MacKinnon, Fort McMurray, 1:24:05

Rob McCuloch, Ottawa, 1:28:28

Alexandre Michel, Ottawa, 1:30:56

Kevin Malloy, Ottawa, 1:31:21

Devashish Paul, 1:32:32

TOP WOMEN

Carley Kenwell, Kanata, 1:38:55

Margie Bailey, Ottawa, 1:40:53

Layla Prieur, Ottawa, 1:42:44

Lynn Newman, Ottawa, 1:50:15

Mary Sietsma, Dickson, 1:50:22


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