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22 FOCUS - FEBRUARY 2016 I didnt swim or run in advance. Even on race day I saw the other swimmers a lot of them over 40 and figured Id be able to leave them behind. But they quickly jumped past me After the swim I had a great bike ride but didnt save enough energy for the run which followed. I remember vowing to myself running that last leg that Id never do another triathlon. But he laughs remembering how quickly his resolve was reversed. As soon as I recovered I was thinking of signing up for the next one Professional coaching would ensure his next one would end with a more positive result. I found an excellent coach in Alex Vanderlinden at the University of Western Ontario he explains. He set up a training schedule to balance my workload among the disciplines and showed me how to properly taper off closer to the event. Ben switched his focus from triathlon swim bike run to the equally-demanding duathlon run bike run and set his sights on qualifying for the 2015 world com- petition in Adelaide Australia. Alexs advice would again serve him well producing a qualifying tenth-place finish. He taught me to pace myself. That was the mistake I made the first time. And also suggested I try to stay with another competitor from my age group but not lose sight of the big picture. We kept in touch online after school was through. Bens family consistently encouraged him to pursue his passion. When I said I wanted to buy a more expensive bike for triathlon they said it was a great idea and loaned me the last bit of money I needed. When I had the chance to travel so far to compete at the next level they were behind me again. My sisters and brother often come to watch when Im racing and my dad was with me the first couple weeks in Australia. Ben would place a satisfying third among his age group in the race on a warm Australian day. But crossing the finish line rather than signaling his return to Canada was in fact just the end of the begin- ning of Bens experiences Down Under. My dads a guidance counsellor and introduced me to SWAPStudent WorkingAbroad Program. They dont get you a job but they provide a lot of useful background whichll help you find one. And theres information advice from experience available from other SWAP members. So with the race over and his father on a plane back home Ben started a new competition job-hunting. Ah but the best-laid plans dont always work out No job prospects though not for lack of effort forced Down Under continued from page 21 Ben proudly holding the Canadian flag at the 2015 duathlon ITU World Championships.