Program helps people prepare for the Big Pool Triathlon


Nine years ago Scott Selee decided he wanted to compete in a triathlon. The only problem? He didn't know how to swim.

Nine years ago Scott Selee decided he wanted to compete in a triathlon. The only problem? He didn't know how to swim.

"That's when I took swimming lessons. I was about 47, I couldn't swim, so I learned how to swim so that I could do a triathlon," he said Monday evening, while standing next to the YMCA pool.

Selee, now an experienced triathlete, is helping to introduce new people to the sport through a joint effort by the Garden City Family YMCA and Garden City Recreation Commission. The six-week training program is aimed at helping those with beginner and intermediate levels of triathlon experience get a chance to test the sport before the Big Pool Triathlon on June 28.

"I just wanted to see people be able to get over the awkwardness of going to an event like this and know that they can do it and encourage people to have a fitness goal and just pursue it," Selee said. "We are encouraging everyone here and, the great thing about triathlon, you are competing kind of with yourself. You can set a goal, you can go to an event, and see how you did, and the next time around you say, hey I wanna push a little faster, or I want to speed up my run, or I want to go a little better on the bike, or I want to work on my swim."

Although the clinic meets weekly, its participants are given homework to keep them going through the week and prepare them for each Monday's session.

GCRC, said she hoped to get at least 10 people signed up for the program. Instead, nearly 30 have participated in the Monday night clinic, which began May 19th.

"We do the Big Pool Triathlon in conjunction with the Y, and we've been doing a 5K and 10K training program for the last two years, which really helps introduce new people and helps them break their nerves, she said. "So my goal was to turn around and do that with the triathlon as well. We partnered up with the Y, and we are doing this kind of as a joint effort. We've got beginners, we've got intermediate, we've got all different levels. It's a good way for everybody to break their nerves, get used to triathlon, maybe ask some questions that they might not have been able to ask if they just tried on their own."

Among the clinic regulars Monday evening was Amber Dunlap.

"I'm here again for the third time. It's nice, it gives me some organization because, if I had to do this by myself, I would have no idea what I would be doing, and I would probably die," she said as she laughed. "I've done 5K's (but) this is a very big step for me. I just got my bike two weeks ago, and I haven't been on a bike in 20 years."

For Dunlap triathlon training is about more than finishing a race it's about overcoming fears.

"Friday night we rode almost 11 miles. I'm more afraid of the cars than I am the soreness. I'm very afraid of the cars, but you just have to do it, she said. "So for me it's just conquering fears. I've had a few near drowning experiences. I get in the pool, and I conquer that fear. I've almost been run over twice. For me it's just conquering that fear of being on the bike and in the pool."

Dunlap, who was convinced by a coworker to participate in the program, has only one goal for the actual triathlon.

"I just want to live to tell about it honestly," she said as she laughed. "I just want to cross the finish line and live."

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