Greater Trail triathlete Jackson Konkin represented his country on Saturday and put up his career-best performance when he raced to an eighth-place finish at the Junior Elite Pan American Championships in Magog, Que.
The 17-year-old Trail native was chosen to represent Team Canada after a strong performance in the Ottawa International Triathlon in June. The juniors raced with the Men’s Elite, including two athletes that competed in the Rio Olympics, and Konkin was one of only five juniors to make the ‘A’ finals.
The Pan American championship included countries from North and South America with 58 competitors swimming, biking, and running in Konkin’s junior-elite field.
Konkin found himself racing alongside fellow BC triathlete Michael Milic of Delta, and the teammates kept pace throughout the 750-metre swim, the 20-kilometre bike, and 5-km run.
The J. L. Crowe student got off to a great start and set the pace with the lead group of five in the swim but dropped to 15th when his goggles filled up with water after taking an elbow to the face.
“I had a good transition and was still able to get on that chase pack with Mike,” Konkin said on the Triathlon Canada website. “We bridged up on the first lap before a really technical section, and rode in that front pack about 30 seconds ahead of the chase group. It was a quick transition onto the run, and I ran myself from 15th to eight by the second lap where I held on to finish. I am very happy to be able to come here and have a great race.”
Coming out of the water 15 seconds back from the leader, Milic and Konkin worked together to bridge the gap on the leaders in the first half of the bike where they kept the pace rolling throughout the race.
Milic finished in fifth place with a time of 57:57.2, while Konkin fought hard for an eighth-place finish in 58:24.9 less than 50 seconds behind winner Darr Smith of the USA.
Konkin is off to Edmonton at the end of July to race in the ITU World Triathlon where he placed eighth last year in Jr. Men. The TRAX swimmer was also selected to compete for Team Canada at the first Multisport World Championship in Penticton Aug. 18-27. Konkin will race in Junior Elite Duathlon (run, bike, run) and Aquathlon (swim, bike).