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Bridges Resident Finishes in Top 20 in International Competition

In late August, Bridges resident Monika Cassidy represented her country in an international athletic competition.

Cassidy competed with Team USA’s triathlon team at the ITU Multisport World Championships in Penticton, Canada.

Cassidy was in the top 20 for her age group overall and in the top eight in her age group for Team USA. “It was a hard, mountainous course. It was amazing to experience,” said Cassidy. “If you’re a triathlete, you are always trying to get to an event like this. It was a dream come true.”

Cassidy has always been athletic. She competed in track and field while growing up in Hungary and played European handball. She has run in the Boston Marathon and has been an instructor and personal trainer at the YMCA for many years.  She decided to take on the challenge of a triathlon seven years ago and has been hooked ever since.

First, however, she had to overcome one major hurdle – she did not know how to swim.

“I grew up out in the country and was always outdoorsy and biked to school but I never learned how to swim. Hungary is a landlocked country and I did not have access to a swimming pool.”

Cassidy taught herself to swim as an adult but realized that she needed more instruction if she was going to compete in a triathlon. “It was a very humbling experience to be a good runner and then jump into the pool and sink. I took lessons with Kareem at the YMCA three times a week.”

Now Cassidy is a certified USA Triathlon coach and is hoping to pass along her love of triathlons to others. “I want everyone to try to do it, especially if you are already a good swimmer. It is a challenge and a wonderful achievement.”

Cassidy estimates that she trains 15 to 17 hours a week when she is training for a triathlon but says most of that time is spent on the weekend doing five to six hour bike rides. During the off-season, she works on her technique and speed and focuses on any other areas that need improvement.

For now she will continue to train herself and others and compete in local races. She is also looking forward to trying out for the 2020 World Championship in Spain.

If you’d like to join Cassidy’s triathlon training group, email her at monika.cassidy@gmail.com.

By Marcy Sanford

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