Royleen Wensvoort competing at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Edmonton July 29, 2017. Photos by Stephen Maunder and Huw Jenkins

New triathlete qualifies for world championships

Royleen Wensvoort just learned how to swim a few years ago.

A longtime dream to be a triathlete is progressing and coming true for a local woman who took up the sport only two years ago.

Royleen Wensvoort, 29, finished in fifth place with a time of 1:29:21 in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Series in Edmonton on July 29.

That placing qualified her for Team Canada in the female 30-35 age group at the ITU Triathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia in September 2018.

The Sprint Distance Triathlon consists of a 750-metre swim, a 20-km bike and a five-km run. In comparison, a standard triathlon is exactly double those distances, while an ironman is a 3.8-km swim, 180-km ride and 42-km run.

“It’s always been a dream of mine,” said Wensvoort about why she got into doing triathlons.

“My dad and I used to watch Ironman Canada Penticton in Penticton and I thought ‘someday I want to do a triathlon’ and I met a coach and here we are,” she said.

Three years ago, she switched from cycling to triathlons and then learned how to swim.

Her coach Rob Bryden, who’s in Calgary, has been qualifying for world triathlons along with his wife and daughter for a number of years, and coaches a whole team of triathletes for the world series, says Wensvoort.

She took a year off to have a family and then dove hard into training two years ago, starting a six-days-a-week routine in the hope of qualifying this year.

“I love it. It takes a lot of sacrifice and discipline by the whole family but it’s an amazing, great journey,” said Wensvoort.

In the next 13 months until Australia, she will crank up her training.

Even though there’s at least one obstacle in her way, she has had help getting past it.

“Having the pool closed has been very detrimental to my training,” she said.

“I only learned how to swim three years ago and then two years in, the pool closes. It’s been really tough but I’ve been able to go to the lake and Twilight Spa opened up their swim spa and allowed me in there.”

Australia will be different as the swim is in the ocean, she added.

“Definitely I want to be faster,” she said, adding she would like to have a finish time under 1:25, which will really depend on the course that will be laid out ahead of time so she’s usually able the day before the race to go and check it out.

She’s hoping to arrive two weeks ahead of the race to prepare.

Wensvoort is thankful for the community support and all of her sponsors.

“I’ve had so much community support. I train all by myself and if not for all these people who have backed me, I would never be able to do this and it’s been a childhood dream and just really an amazing opportunity,” she said.

 

Royleen Wensvoort competing at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Edmonton July 29, 2017. Photos by Stephen Maunder and Huw Jenkins

Royleen Wensvoort competing at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Edmonton July 29, 2017. Photos by Stephen Maunder.