Local teen competes at the Youth Triathlon National Championships
Carter Brand competed at the Youth Triathlon National Championships at the Ohio event in early August. Brand finished with an impressive eighth place in the competition, which showcases up-and-coming triathletes.
By Lynne Marsala Basche; photos courtesy of William Oliva
Castle Pines resident and Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) sophomore Carter Brand competed at the Youth Triathlon National Championships at the Ohio event in early August. Brand finished with an impressive eighth place in the competition, which showcases up-and-coming triathletes.
The Youth Triathlon is part of USA Triathlon (USAT) and is used as a measure for identifying talent for colleges and the Olympics. Athletes are passionate about the sport and are all above average with their swimming, biking and running skills.
Brand, who is part of the eNRG high-performance triathlon team out of Littleton is also a varsity cross-country runner at RCHS. He competes with the highest-caliber juniors and competes in the Youth Elite Cups, which serve as qualifiers for the USAT Youth Elite National Championships. Brand competed in two Youth Elite Cups in Washington and Iowa and qualified for the National Championships in both races. Events include a 375-meter open water swim, followed by a 10K bike ride and then a 2.5K run. The top athletes finish in about 30 minutes.
Seventy-five athletes qualified for the Youth Elite Championships, and athletes must participate in at least one of five qualifying events around the country and finish in the top 17 in each of these races to qualify. Finishing in seventh place in the Washington race, Brand qualified in his first youth elite race.
Regarding his training, Brand said, “I trained two to two-and-a-half hours a day with eNRG at Chatfield State Park and also swam with the local summer swim team the Castle Crocs during the summer.”
Brand’s spirit was undeterred even after he broke his big toe during a bike crash at the start of the transition in a qualifying Iowa race. Despite the injury, Brand decided he still wanted to do National Championships and postpone surgery by one week. Ultimately, Brand raced with a broken toe and had surgery when he returned home.
“I am most proud of his resilience and toughness of finishing his qualifier race in Iowa and completing his run after he had broken his toe during a bike crash,” said Brand’s mother, Mira. “I could see his gait was off and that he was grimacing, but for him to compete in that race and do so well (7th) showed a lot of strength. Then his resilience showed again when he stated strongly that there was no way he would not compete at National Championships, even on a broken toe, and that surgery would have to be postponed by a week.”
Brand hopes to be invited to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in November to work with the nation’s best triathletes and Olympians. “From Washington to hot and fun Iowa, to the National Championships in Ohio, I have experienced some of the most competitive, physically and mentally grueling, and yet unique fun races,” said Brand. “Every race is a different experience and just makes you eager for the next race. You use all your experience and knowledge from past races and training to give it your all at National Championships and find your potential. Even though my background is in swimming and running, the biking is my favorite part! I am really happy that I finished in 8th place, even with a broken toe.”