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Sunday, May. 19, 2019
Mastroianni qualifies for ITU World Age Group Championships
by Randy Pascal

Isabella Mastroianni already had some tough decisions that lie ahead. Now she has a few more.

An accomplished competitive swimmer, Mastroianni has also climbed the ranks within the provincial triathlon scene, improving steadily since her start in the sport, at roughly the age of nine. Now 15 years old, the grade 11 St Benedict Catholic Secondary School student is keenly aware that the day may come where she needs to focus all of her training efforts on only one of her two sporting pursuits.

“I love both sports, so I want to continue doing both as much as I can, just to keep my options open for schooling and everything,” she said. Coming off another strong season with the Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club earlier this year, Mastroianni launched herself into the Triathlon Ontario circuit this past spring, participating in the Ontario Summer Games in London as well.

Competing in the Sprint Triathlon segment in Lakeside in early September, an elite grouping that included a grand total of 368 participants (163 women), Mastroianni finished 22nd overall, and first in the 19-under women's division. In doing so, the local athlete would qualify to compete under the Team Canada banner at one of two ITU (International Triathlon Union) events in 2019.

Though the honour is a great one, the opportunity immense, the fact is that these races are 100% participant funded, though fully endorsed and recognized by Triathlon Canada. As such, it is completely understandable that Mastroianni and her team must select events carefully to maximize the potential benefits.

The 2019 ITU Multisport World Championships are slated for April 29th to May 4th in Pontevedra (Spain), with a second competition taking place in September in Switzerland. “I've been talking with my coach and trying to figure out the best route for me to take,” she said. “I have until November 15th to decide if I am going (to Spain) or not. My coach would like me to try and qualify for junior world elites, which is a higher caliber race.”

The coach in question, at least for the past four weeks or so, is none other than David Hopton of LPC (Loaring Personal Coaching), the same gentleman who actually captured the Lakeside race and carries a very impressive triathlon resume, as both an athlete and a coach.

Working with Triple Threat Triathlon Club in Sudbury the past few years, Mastroianni has now moved on, partnered with a training base that numbers among the most noteworthy triathletes in the country, despite the relative geographic isolation that she endures. “I trained by myself, to begin with, the majority of the time, just because there's not that many triathletes here in Sudbury,” she explained.

“So I still train in Sudbury. I just get a whole bunch of workouts, on-line, and then I do them here.” Despite working with her new mentor for just a short period of time, she has noticed some changes in her habits already. “I do a lot more running than I used to, but my swimming is the same, because I am still doing competitive swimming (with SLSC). I will bike once a week or so, because it's the winter.”

In fact, with triathlon races pretty much on standstill for the next several months, Mastroianni will focus on her training, in general, as well as a busy competition schedule with the SLSC, adding in her current running regimen as a member of the St Benedict Bears' cross country team. That is, of course, if she receives no other unexpectedly pleasant surprises.

“I qualified at Lakeside, but I had no idea until after the race was done,” she explained. “I didn't even know what was going on.” And though it's murkied the waters of her decision-making process, moving forward, it's a problem that the talented all-around athlete does not mind having.

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