When 22-year-old Tyler Mislawchuk crossed the finish line 15th at the Rio Olympics last summer, he had signaled to Canadian triathlon fans that he was the man to watch over the next quadrant.
Mislawchuk built on a season of consistent results in 2016 to crack into the top 15 — at the Olympics and overall in the WTS rankings — but knew he could have performed even better had it not been for a lower leg injury that kept him out of the ITU Grand Final in Cozumel.
After evaluating his season and his long-term goals in the sport, Mislawchuk has a fresh game plan for the 2017 season.
“After Rio, I was on crutches for nine weeks and couldn’t train so I spent a good chuck of time at home catching up with friends and family who I hadn’t seen in eight months,” Mislawchuk explains. “I got the chance to do some public speaking and visit schools to talk about how sport had positively impacted my life. It was really nice to give back to the community.”
He also took a trip to Montreal to check out coach Kyla Rollinson’s training group.
“I was inspired by the group dynamics. It’s a great group of friendly people. I feel like it will give me the leadership and the supportive environment I need to achieve my goals,” he says.
Now officially training with Rollinson, Mislawchuk is currently in Ecuador for an altitude training camp with the group. He’s putting in around two to three hours of training each day.
Living at 2500m with the possibility of climbing to 4200m in Ecuador… pic.twitter.com/icpYS3J0oc
— Tyler Mislawchuk (@Mislawchuk) February 10, 2017
“I’m still building back up to a normal training load, especially with running, since my injury,” he says. “Training at altitude provides the perfect stimulus for this time of year.”
While not yet in top form, it’s unlikely we’ll see Mislawchuk racing in the WTS and world cup races in the first half of the season.
“I don’t want to step up to a WTS race if I’m not fully healthy. The depth of the field in these races is unbelievable. You can’t line up with just 90% fitness,” he explains.
The good news for Canada is that this means he’s targeting the two back-t0-back Canadian WTS races –Edmonton and Montreal — later in the summer.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity for Canadian athletes,” he says, noting that he really wants to perform well for the home crowds. “It’s not often we get the chance to race with our friends and families watching live.”
Besides his short-term 2017 goals, Mislawchuk is also looking ahead to Tokyo 2020 and future Olympic games and hopes to build on his solid 15th place result. He feels optimistic about the future of the sport in Canada and is excited to grow alongside a strong crew of up-and-coming short course Canadians triathletes.
“We have a lot of young athletes who can be amazing, given they follow the right path,” he says. “I’m glad to be part of this new era and I hope that myself and everyone else at Triathlon Canada can grow together so that by Tokyo we can be apart of something bigger and better.”