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Baylor triathlete to compete down under

Nov. 12, 1997

Hernandez visits Australia to take part in World Championships

By Hollis Norton

Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

Danny Hernandez began competing in triathlons after getting involved with Rainbow Iron Kids. This Sunday, he will compete at the International Triathlon Union's Junior Triathlon World Championships in Australia.

'I used to be a runner, I cycled, and I picked up swimming,' said Hernandez, a Farmers Branch sophomore majoring in psychology.

Hernandez will spend five days getting used to the time change and altitude before race day on November 16th. He also will familiarize himself with the route so he can be prepared for every bump and turn.

The Junior Triathlon World Championships is an Olympic distance race. The event consists of swimming 1 mile, bicycling 24.8 miles and running 6.2 miles.

Each week, Hernandez works out at the pool three or four times for about an hour each session. He runs four or five days for 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Sometimes he works with a training partner while running. Hernandez also rides his bicycle four to five days a week for 25 to 60 miles at a time.

Training at Baylor has been beneficial to Hernandez.

'It helps that we are in a small town; swimming is harder, but doable. The cycling is good because in five minutes you can be out in the country,' said Hernandez.

Hernandez also trains with the Baylor Cycling Club, which he serves as president of. Although he is not racing with the club this semester due to training for the triathlon, he plans to race next semester.

The cycling club played a big part in helping Hernandez qualify for the Junior National Team.

Late last spring, Hernandez competed in one of three qualifying triathlons. The top two female and male placers at each triathlon were asked go to training camp this past summer.

While Hernandez did not have one of the top two finishes at the triathlon he entered, he was one of two male athletes chosen from all of the other entries to attend the training camp this summer.

Coaches at the training camp picked six triathlon athletes to go to the world championships. Hernandez had to prove himself. This is where his training experience with the Baylor Cycling Club paid off.

'My ability to ride in a pack really impressed the coaches,' said Hernandez.

At the end of the training camp, all the athletes competed in the Carlsbad Triathlon. Hernandez came in first out of the juniors training. This helped to ensure a spot on the Junior National Team.

The triathlon is a team sport that is highly individualized.

'The top three scores from each country are taken to find the winning team, but it is basically individual,' said Hernandez

'My biggest accomplishment is being able to repeat and be on the junior team again,' said Hernandez, who also competed at the 1996 Junior World Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. In that race, he finished 55th in the junior division and 130th overall. There were about 3,000 entrants in that race.

'I finally made it,' Hernandez said. 'I proved what I could do against the rest of the world.'

This trip is financed by USA Triathlon, but usually Hernandez has to foot the bill himself. Each triathlon can cost from $150-$500 depending on location, and he competes in 10 to 13 races each year, so Hernandez depends on sponsors to help him out.

One day, Hernandez hopes to compete in the Hawaiian Iron Man, which was the first triathlon ever.

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