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Gators head to Okotoks

Three members of St. Albert’s triathlon club will compete at the Alberta Summer Games next weekend amongst the fastest in the province.
Triathletes Aubrey Kennedy, Akari McLeod, and Brechan Kennedy after a training session with St. Albert Gators coach Glenn Wilson. NICOLE KENNEDY/Photo

The St. Albert Gators Triathlon Club is sending four of its members to this year’s Alberta Summer Games being held in Okotoks later this month. 

The program’s head coach, Glenn Wilson, will be joined by Akari McLeod, as well as sisters Aubrey and Brechan Kennedy. The group will be on the road from July 20-23 for the three-day event. 

Each athlete — having earned the opportunity to compete through one of two races held earlier in the season — will compete in a duathlon, triathlon, and a sprint triathlon relay. 

The Alberta Summer Games is a significant multi-sport event that nurtures the athletic potential of young Albertans, providing a competitive platform to showcase emerging talents. Inaugurated in 1974, these games have seen thousands of participants from across the province throughout the past five decades.

McLeod, 14, is a grade 9 student from Lorne Akins Junior High. She swims with the St. Albert Sailfish, is a member of St. Albert Gators, and is an avid snowboarder amd skateboarder.

“I first discovered triathlon through watching my dad race and I thought I would give it a try,” she said. “I didn’t truly understand the sport until I joined The St. Albert Gators Triathlon Club. It really showed me how much I love the sport”

Contrary to what some might think, Gators swim, run, and spin together.

“Although it’s an individual sport, we train as a team and support each other,” McLeod said.

“Coach Glenn really understands us and knows when to push us to be at our best. I am so excited to race at the Alberta Summer Games and even more excited to be there with Aubrey, Brechan and Coach Glenn.”

Aubrey, 15, is a grade 10 student at Bellerose. She also swims with the Sailfish and Gators programs and looks forward to completing her triathlon coaching certification later this summer.  The older and more experienced of the Kennedy sisters, Aubrey looks forward to Okotoks with great anticipation.

“I can’t wait to race. I look forward to getting out there and seeing what I can do against these other great athletes.” 

When asked if the training has been challenging, Aubrey says, “We have worked really hard. It’s tough to train for three different sports, but it has also been a lot of fun. Glenn is a great coach and he has kept us focused on improving and getting us ready for the Games.”  

Brechan, 12, is a grade 7 student at Sturgeon Heights School. She is also a member of Sailfish and Gators.

“I worked hard to get there, and I’m super duper excited to go to Okotoks and compete,” says Brechan. When asked what she was looking forward to the most, Brechan said she can’t wait for the Opening Ceremonies and the chance to hang out with all the other athletes. 

St. Albert Gators is a junior program that sees about 30 members, aged 8-18, train from September to June. The athletes then compete through a series of events held throughout the summer months all around Alberta. 

“This is the first time in about eight years that the club has had athletes qualify for the Alberta Summer Games,” said Wilson, longtime coach of the Gators. “To get three athletes in there is a testament to the hard work that these athletes have done in off seasons without a home pool to train in.”

“We are so thrilled to have representation at the Alberta Summer Games,” said  Nicole Kennedy, the club’s president.

“These three athletes have worked very hard to achieve the invitation and we know this will be an experience they won’t soon forget.”  

The triathlon season will wrap up for this group at the St. Albert Triathlon on August 6th as the Kennedy sisters will join their dad in the team triathlon race. 

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