–By Ottawa Sportspage, For Bytown Storm Triathlon Club
Miguel Alvarez enjoyed a new career high moment in his young triathlon journey when his Bytown Storm club hosted its annual Dunrobin Youth Triathlon on Aug. 12.
The talented teenager’s path to the Triathlon Ontario Junior Cup Series podium began at a young age, inspired by his father.
“He just loved the sport, and now I have the same passion as him,” highlights Alvarez, who enjoys the camaraderie that exists amongst supposedly rival racers at events.
Perhaps the best example of that spirit came at the Aug. 2-5 Ontario Summer Games, where he competed alongside Storm teammates Dante Cardamone, Isabella Filby, Liv Horn and silver medallist Kiana Knelsen, who placed 2nd in the mixed team relay event.
In London, Alvarez savoured the chance to bond with his fellow triathletes and bunkmates at the University of Western Ontario.
“It was an amazing experience,” recounts Alvarez, who also enjoyed the great food at the Games and watching athletes compete in other sports.
Alvarez could well have made it to the Ontario Summer Games in another sport himself.
Up to 2 years ago, he was playing in the province’s top high-performance soccer league before electing to focus more of his energy on triathlon.
The Franco-Ouest high school student wound up scoring a finish in the top-third of the field against the province’s best young triathletes, placing 8th.
“I had a pretty great result,” states Alvarez, who was particularly pleased since he was one of the younger athletes competing, and because it was his first race of the season, coming off a hip flexor injury.
It was an even better day a week later in Dunrobin. A superb swim saw Alvarez exit the water near the front, he kept on a strong biker’s wheel and chased down the leader during the cycling leg, and gave it his all in the run en route to a 2nd-place finish in the U15 draft-legal division.
“I’m super happy,” signals Alvarez, who was over 3 1/2 minutes behind Lukas Vadeika in London, but came within 17.1 seconds of the Dunrobin winner to comfortably outpace the rest of the field.
“It’s the first time this has happened for me,” Alvarez says of his provincial series medal win, “but I worked really hard for it.”
The silver lining to the hip ailment that kept Alvarez from running for roughly 2 months was that he focused more on improving his swimming, which he viewed as the catalyst to the silver medal performance.
“There were two sides to the injury,” smiles Alvarez, giving thanks to his physiotherapist for helping to get him back in shape.
Alvarez also made special note of his coaches’ contributions, for pushing him to the limit (which he finds fun), and to his parents for getting up at 5 a.m. to take him to swim practice, and to the club volunteers who helped put on the high-level event at the YMCA-YWCA Bonnenfant Outdoor Centre – regarded by many as the most picturesque triathlon course in the province.
“Nothing could have happened without all the people that supported me,”
Alvarez underlines, noting his success was all the more special because it came in his backyard. “I’m 15 minutes away, and my whole family got to come watch me race. It was awesome.”