Cougars swim team member recounts competitions
From sprints and swims at home to full triathlons in Brazil, Kolesova’s ready to try her hand
Nataliia Kolesova from the University of Regina swim team had a busy year competing at nationals, Canada Games, and most recently at the Fédération Internationale de Sport Universitaire (FISU), or the International University Sports Federation, for a triathlon. Kolesova finished 28th overall in the individual sprint race at FISU, fourth at the Canada Games, and seventh in the elite category and fourth in the u23 category at nationals. She started competing in triathlons in 2016 after competing in competitive sprint swimming for most of her childhood.
Kolesova still feels fairly new to the sport since most of her teammates and competitors have been competing since they were five or six years old. When asked what her strongest event is, she said, “It depends on the race. I would say if you purely break them up into individual sports, swimming would probably be my strongest.” In order to compete at FISU, Kolesova had to register and go through a governing body that looked over her scores, and based it off a points system that allowed her to qualify for the University World Championships.
It was Kolesova’s first world championships, however most of her in-season events are held internationally, whether it’s an American Cup or a European Cup. She saw this race as a bit of a gamble, since her triathlon season was much longer than it normally is for her. She felt as though the result of her race in Brazil wasn’t a reflection of the amazing season that she had. However, she saw her time in Brazil as an amazing experience that she learned so much from, saying “every course is so different” and that there are “just those little things that you kind of learn throughout.” Her best takeaway from her time at FISU was that “you do have to swim fast in draft legal triathlons.”
Draft legal triathlons are when you’re allowed to ride your bike very close to each other, which isn’t the case in some triathlons. This makes it strategically important to be the first group onto the bikes, as the front group normally rides the fastest. During Regina winters, Kolesova spends much of her training time indoors, whether it’s for cycling or running. If she is able, she prefers to run outside, especially if she needs to run longer distances. In training for the bike portion of triathlons, she hooks her bike up to a trainer, along with using a bike simulator device called Zwift. She also notes that riding with her brother makes her workouts easier, as it’s always nice to have a buddy to ride with.
In balancing a sport-school workload, Kolesova cites that having a great support system that allows her to focus on her triathlons and school is helpful. She also sees living at home as an advantage as well, since she doesn’t have to worry about other stressors like grocery shopping, making it easier for her to focus on swimming and triathlon. Kolesova’s advice for students who want to get involved in triathlon is that “You don’t have to train twenty hours a week. You can swim once a week. You can bike and run once a week, and you can do a triathlon.” Also, that “You don’t need fancy equipment.” If the equipment you’re using works, then that’s perfect.
Kolesova is taking some time off from triathlon training to focus on her season with the Cougars, and then will transition back into triathlon training as she will be competing next March in Florida to start off her new triathlon season.