Friday, July 14, 2017

That Fish is Fast!! Interview with Kate Westra

Kate Westra is a rising star on the local scene, an SLTC coach, and currently the #1 ranked F2024 in our ranking system.

Among other things, here she discusses her development as a triathlete, future goals, and swimming 10 miles in a pool full of alligators.

Thanks for the time, Kate!

What’s your athletic background and how did you get into triathlon?

Growing up I played just about every sport there is, but I hated running so most of them didn’t stick. I started swimming competitively at 11 years old and stuck with it all throughout high school. I made the hard choice to not swim in college and after a year of not really doing much (and gaining about 20lbs) I missed competing and having an athletic goal to strive towards. My dad and brother had just done their first triathlon and I wanted to get in on the action.

Looking at your results, you’re clearly still elite in the water. Random question here… how would you allocate 100% (using the options below) to the question “what does it take to be a great swimmer??”

DNA ( 5% ) focus on technique ( 25% ) crazy volume ( 15% ) mental toughness ( 20% ) dedication and consistency ( 35% )

Kate took the overall win @ the Daybreak Sprint, with Julie Hansen & Jessica Smith rounding out the podium

Local pro Megan Foley (a former collegiate swimmer) once told me that now swimming is her least favorite of the three triathlon disciplines. Are you like Megan or is swimming still tops? In other words, now that you swim, bike and run regularly, how would you rank sheer enjoyment of three?

I like swimming more now than when I was in high school, but that might have to do with not swimming 20 hours a week… Even still swimming is probably my least favorite. Cycling is definitely my favorite. Running is somewhere in the middle, which is a huge improvement considering growing up I would have much rather swam 10 miles in a pool full of alligators than run 1 mile.

One more swim question – we found another Westra in the East Canyon results, also a strong swimmer… does the whole family swim, and if so, who’s the fastest fish in the family?

I have one brother and three sisters and we all swam competitively. My parents put up with year-round swimming for 13 years straight. My siblings don’t swim that much anymore. If they got back into it, we’d all be pretty close to each other, but anything more than 200 yards I would probably win.

You’re currently the #1 ranked F2024 in our Age Group Rankings after great races at St. George 70.3 (5:40), East Canyon – Sprint (2nd F Overall) & Daybreak – Sprint (1st F Overall). How would you sum up your season so far, and which do you feel was your best performance of those three?

I tend to be a very competitive person and in the past I would kind of beat myself up for not having the race I wanted. This year I’ve found more of a balance between being competitive and having fun, it’s made this season much more enjoyable. I’d say my best performance was Daybreak, but St. George was my favorite. At Daybreak everything went better than I could have imagined. St. George was more a challenge for me and training for it helped my speed for the short distance races.

You took 5th in your AG at St. George, did that equate to a qualifying spot at 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga? Are the championship races (Kona, 70.3 Worlds) big motivating goals for the future or would you say you prefer intense, short course racing?

I didn’t qualify for Worlds this year, but it's one of my short term goals. I’ve always dreamt of going to South Africa, which is where the 2018 70.3 Worlds are, so that's keeping me very motivated! The longer distance races are becoming more of my focus right now, but that won’t stop me with having fun with a couple of sprints!

hardware at St. George!

What are your race plans for the rest of the season?

I have three more races planned this year, Spudman, Blackridge and Santa Cruz 70.3. I love racing so I may end up signing up for more as kind of a last minute thing.

What's your involvement with SLTC and how has the club helped with your own development?

I’m one of the SLTC coaches, I focus mostly on swim coaching but I am also a USAT coach. SLTC has been more than awesome. Everyone is so willing to help and supports each other no matter your speed or ability. Being surrounded by others who know a lot about the sport and have been doing it for a long time really helps. I’ve found others through the club to train with that have really pushed me to become a better athlete.

What’s your podium for favorite local races and why?

1st Daybreak- This year was my second time doing Daybreak and is what pushed it to my favorite race. Everything about the race is great, the beautiful course, the incredible support shown by everyone (I teared up a few times watching people finish), and although the swim isn’t in the “best” water (you still survived right?) it makes for great stories to tell.

2nd East Canyon- It's just a fun, fast course. It’s probably my favorite bike course and the lake is beautiful.

3rd Blackridge- It was my very first triathlon and it was also the first race where I heard about SLTC. I have a lot of great memories from this race and it will always be a race that I try to do every year.

L to R: Kate, Nicole McConkie & Haley Tadler on the overall podium
@ East Canyon Sprint

Anything else you want to share?

If you’re struggling with one (or more) of the disciplines be patient with it. The very first 5k I ran took me almost 40 minutes to complete. Over the next couple of years I didn’t see much improvement, I started to settle on the fact that I could never be a strong runner and almost gave up on running all together. Over the last two years I focused more on running and didn’t give up on it and slowly my times started to get faster. So be patient, change doesn’t happen over night and keep working hard!

Related Posts

No comments:

Post a Comment