Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Leavin'em in the Dust: Interview with Evan Santo

Evan Santo is a crazy fast kid (both locally and nationally) who will soon be trading in his race kit for a white shirt and tie. Among other things, here he talks about his triathlon career thus far, his decision to go on a 2-yr LDS mission, and trash-talking us all in German upon his return.

Thanks for the time, Evan, and best of luck in Germany and beyond!

How did you get involved with this crazy sport of triathlon at such a young age?

When I was on my high school swim team, my coach said that if I wanted to get faster I should look into getting a technique coach (I too, at one point, had a ugly stroke ;) ) That is when I met Heath Thurston. Working with Heath, I learned you really have to practice good technique before you can get faster. During a practice he suggested I should try racing the RaceTri Escape from Blackridge (2013). I won my age group and fell in love with the sport!

How has Wes/ BAM helped with your progression, and what would you say are the three highlights in your triathlon career so far?

BAM has created a group of athletes that support other athletes like no other. You’ve all seen #bamfam. It truly is a tight family that I have grown to love! All who are in it are there to build up each other, to reach new potentials. Wes took on a lot when he made a Junior Elite team but because of his support and dedication to us we’ve been able to have experiences like racing nationally.

My top 3 highlights:
1. My top 5 finish at the Clermont Draft Legal Challenge. It was at this race that I realized how far I had come in triathlon and what was soon to come.

2. When I qualified for World’s at the Age Group National Championship in Wisconsin.

3. When Skye Moench took first in Clermont and stole my man bun!

Do you have any friendly rivalries among the young guns at BAM?

Me and Chris always have a little rivalry going on at races. I have still yet to beat him in a race, but one day I hope to be able to beat him. 

The first year I joined BAM, it was always a competition between me and Tucker Hathaway. He beat me in every race last year! Now, our rivalry has turned into a brotherhood.

Ty Perkins, my other “brother,” likes to remind me that swimmers don’t make the best runners by making painful track workouts and shuttle runs look effortless.

We saw that you’re going on an LDS mission to Germany, correct? When do you leave and how are you feeling about it?

Yes! I was called to serve in the Berlin Germany Mission. I leave November 2nd and I couldn't be more excited!

You choose to go or not, correct? Was it a hard decision?

It is a personal decision to serve a mission. You know, at first it was a hard decision but as I prayed and thought about it, I realized how important it was for me to serve. Kade Hunter’s example of putting a pause on his career has had a great impact on my decision.

With Kona winners past & present (Frodeno, Kienle, Stadler, etc), Triathlon is huge in Germany. Have you mastered any triathlon-related words in German you can share with us yet?

Sie schwimmt. Sie fahren Fahrrad. Er rennt. My parents both speak German, so I’ve picked up a little...ein Bisschen. Haha!  (Editor's note: can someone get us a translation here? :)

Sources have told us that fellow BAM star Kade Hunter is on a German-speaking mission as well… when does he get back, and will we all be the recipients of foreign trash talk upon your returns?

He is speaking the southern dialect which is a butchered version of the German I’ll be learning. But yes! German slurs will be heard throughout races to come. Kade gets back in the middle of November of next year.

LDS missionaries are recognized worldwide for their white shirts and ties, but also their bike-riding prowess. Do you see yourself “accidentally” leaving the others in the dust on a regular basis? What kind of ride & gear will you be rocking over there?

No, no, I would just be giving them a draft ;) I'm hoping that I can get some form of stationary trainer halfway through to start bringing back some of my fitness before I come home. Riding on a Waffenrad (World War II military weapon bike, very heavy) surely will slow me down.

he'd still out-split you

Will you be able to swim and run at all?

I'm allowed 30 mins of exercise a day. Rumor has it that you can get permission from the Mission President to get more exercise time. Swimming is not allowed, which kills me to think about not swimming for 2 years. I’ve been asked what will I do if I get a companion not capable of keeping up with me on runs. The answer is simple he rides a bike next to me while I run. If anyone has ideas for amazing 30 minute workouts, send them my way!

More just a question on how swim fitness works: as two examples, you swam 4:25 at Icebreaker (300m pool swim) and 9:25 at Echo (sprint) this year… theoretically, the day you get back, how much slower would those times be? Seconds slower or more like minutes? (Regardless, you’ll re-gain it very quickly for sure)

They say that to get back in the shape you were before the mission, it will take roughly a year. But those Wienerschnitzels und Apfelkuchen will make their impact on me! It's hard to know how out of shape I'll be. I hope that I won't lose too much fitness over the years. But I am looking at the mission being a good time to let my body recover from non-stop training and give my body time to grow….a “foot or two.”

Anything else you want to share?

Missionaries love receiving letters anyone can feel free to email me at

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