On Sept 19, TI Master Coach Suzanne Atkinson posted on Facebook that one of her athletes had just won a triathlon world championship. That would be exciting news in any case, but what made this feat particularly special was that the athlete was another TI Coach!
Kirsten Sass was Women’s Overall Age Group Champion in the Olympic Distance World Triathlon Championships.
I couldn’t wait to learn more so I asked Suzanne and Kirsten to join me for a Google hangout. We recorded it to share with you. Though I’ve had the pleasure of spending much time working and swimming with them, I learned some quite surprising things.
A small sample (at the 5:00 mark): In her first triathlon, in 1999, Kirsten placed “dead last in my age group.”
I’ve heard stories of people who ‘made the podium’ in their first tri, discovered potential they hadn’t suspected, and went on to highly successful triathlon careers. But I’d never heard of someone going from last place to a World Championship.
Kirsten’s reaction to finishing last? “Surely I can go faster than that.” Also, she says, she thoroughly enjoyed the experience, regardless of place, because everyone who passed her was encouraging and supportive.
And here’s something else of interest. We’ve noticed that Total Immersion seems to exert a pronounced attraction to people in the health-care field. Suzanne and Kirsten both coach as an avocation. In their ‘day jobs,’ both are health-care professionals. Suzanne is an MD with a long-time specialty in emergency medicine. She also teaches University of Pittsburgh Medical School . . . yet one more form of coaching.
Kirsten is a physician’s assistant, as well as a mom to two young children.
If you’d like to meet Kirsten and Suzanne in person, both will join me as coaches at the TI Triathlon Swimming Camp Feb 25-29, 2016 in Clermont Florida.