|Centre alum ranked number one in USA Triathlon
Kyle Poland's goal is to compete in 2008 Olympics
RELEASED: Feb. 27, 2003
DANVILLE, KYKyle Poland, as Tom Petty once sang, is running down a dream. He's also biking and swimming his way toward his goal.
Poland, Danville native and 2002 graduate of Centre College, is training to compete in the triathlon for the 2008 Olympics. His recent accomplishments have helped him gain confidence.
He finished the just-concluded track and field season as the top-ranked athlete in the under-23 age group for USA Triathlon.
Poland finished with 95.78865 points, more than two points ahead of second-ranked Tyler Barnes at 93.326125.
"I'm really happy with that," Poland said. "I hadn't planned on going to the national race in New Hampshire, but I went to the race in Michigan and everyone was saying I needed to go [to New Hampshire]. So I went and I finished sixth."
Last year, Poland, who has turned professional, won the National Long Course Championship in Muncie, Ind., for the men's 20-24 age group. He plans to defend his title in July.
Poland works and trains in Lebanon, Ohio. His typical day goes like this: He awakes at 7 or 8 a.m. and does a swim workout and/or lifts weights for about an hour. He goes home for a quick bite to eat before returning for another two-hour workout. From noon to 8 p.m. he works at a triathlon shop in Lebanon. After work, he will then practice running. Poland serves as his own trainer, and also is coaching others he met at the triathlon shop. Poland says he'll consider a career in coaching after he's finished competing.
"My boss is pretty flexible, so that helps" Poland said. "It's weird that my goal is more than five years away. But in the 2000 Olympics, the triathlon runners were in their late 20s and early 30s, which is the age I'll be in 2008." Poland is 23.
An Olympic triathlon consists of a 1,500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run. That's nearly 32 miles altogether. Poland's best time in a triathlon was 1 hour, 55 minutes.
Lisa Owens, head coach of both track and field and cross country at Centre, coached Poland for two years in cross country and one year in track. Though she's confident of his running and biking abilities, Owens said it's swimming that gives Poland an edge, as well as his positive mindset and will power.
"He's an excellent swimmer, which puts him ahead," Owens said. "He was a great inspiration for our team, and a good leader."
While at Centre, Poland set school records in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle. He was also named to Southern Collegiate Athletics All-Conference teams in swimming and cross country.
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