Triathletes sparkle with spirit on and off the podium

Triathlon team manager Claire Healey fails to hold back tears as her athlete Anja Krueger crosses the finish line in the women’s sprint-distance triathlon, winning a silver medal and Manitoba’s first medal of the 2022 Canada Summer Games.

“I was so proud seeing Anja cross the finish line to win the silver medal! She has put in a tremendous amount of work during the short time she has been involved in triathlon, so it was incredible to see that pay off!”

Healey has had success as a Team Toba athlete herself, winning a silver medal in the women’s relay triathlon at the Games in Winnipeg in 2017. Now as a coach, success has taken on a new form.

“It has been so rewarding to experience the Games as a coach! I have seen all the time and effort these athletes have put into their training, so it was incredible to see them achieve their goals during the Games. I have so much respect for all the outstanding coaches in Niagara, and am grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside them!”

As for longtime head coach Gary Pallett, seeing his athletes on the podium is nothing new. Manitoba has earned at least one medal in triathlon since it was added to the Summer Games in 2009.

“We had our best Games in 2009. Sarah Anne Brault won silver, our girls won silver and boys bronze that year when there was no mixed relay.” Pallett goes on to explain how having leaders in the group helps push the younger athletes toward success, and allows them to become leaders for the next group of future stars.

“Blake [Harris] has been a great team leader since Kyla [Roy] left. I think Anja and Addy [Champagne] just watch him and think if he can be good how hard can it be? Those two have been unique, they just started elite racing this summer and have both been sponges. They don’t know you aren’t supposed to do so well so early so I don’t tell them it’s not normal. So, I think it’s a lot of things but I think when everyone comes in, we’ve had great leaders and mentors they got to learn from and they want to pay it back with the new group entering, so it’s a great repeating cycle.”

Although triathlon is an individual sport, the comradery and sportsmanship among teammates are abundant. Ahead of the relay, both competitors and teammates were putting on extra Team Manitoba tattoos to show their provincial pride. And if watching the athletes cheer each other on wasn’t enough to convince people of the team spirit within this “individual” sport, then pictures of the athletes throwing manager Healey into the lake sure do.

“I knew it was going to happen,” Healey chuckles as she climbs out of the water. “I brought a change of clothes for a reason.”

After winning her second medal of the Games, Krueger was happy with her performance and humble as ever, acknowledging the people around her, family and teammates alike, who helped her succeed in Niagara.

“It feels really, really good. I kind of knew that one might be in my grasp this time, after the first race, so just to have it in my hands now again is very exciting. Also, just happy to be able to let everyone know that all the work that they’ve put in to help me paid off, and I really appreciate all of you.”

Anja Krueger took home a silver medal in the women’s sprint triathlon, and a bronze in the women’s super sprint. Team Manitoba finished 5th in the mixed team relay, thanks to Krueger, Harris, Champagne, and Cole Buxton. Teammates Ben Szwajcer and Natalie Fournier were waiting at the finish line for a team hug to wrap up a great week of racing for Manitoba’s triathletes.

Credit: Sport Manitoba

Find out what's new at Triathlon Manitoba.


Pin It on Pinterest