Current Coaching Team-2019
52 years young . I started coaching fellow swim club kids 38 years ago in Winnipeg ….along the way I swam at Olympic trials and did my first triathlon in 1982 . In 1983 I did the Apple triathlon and fell in love with Kelowna and moved here. I was lucky to have been able to compete at many different races throughout Canada and Internationally . In the mid 80s I helped Pat Kelly (formally of the national training centre in Victoria) coach our Tri Kinetic team. About 14 years ago, I started Transition Tri club, and have been able to get several hundred people of all ages and speeds to their finish line goals. I am the Swiss army knife of coaching. I am a bike fitter / bike technician with race experience in almost all distances and types of multi sport racing. I enjoy the health and fitness of our sport with my family, Aiden, Finn and my wife Christy. My coaching philosophy is simple….. train hard and always keep it fun.
Missy Blackburn- 8-9 Lead Coach
Geoff Freeman-10-11 Lead Coach
Akasha Bopp-10-11 Lead Coach
Erica Abbie-Floating Coach
Owen Harris- Youth Coach
I’ve always been an athlete, playing soccer, hockey, basketball, running cross country, track and field, and swimming but I had never thought about triathlons until I moved to Kelowna in 2013. Since then, triathlons have quickly become a passion and I’ve competed in many over the past two seasons, as well as continuing with hockey, basketball, cross country and also taking up steeplechase on the track. I am currently a grade 11 student at Okanagan Mission Secondary, and am excited to graduate next year. I’m looking forward to being a more prominent member of the Ogopogo coaching team this year in the 10-11 group and transferring some of my knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport to the young athletes.
“The best pace is a suicide pace, and today is a good day to die” -Pre, #getuglyracing
I initially joined the tri club when I was 9, after being inspired by my triathlete mama! However, my first experience with triathlon was at the age of six, when I attempted the Summerland triathlon. However, the fact that I had registered two days before race day did not prepare me for the cold water, and I got up to about waist deep before calling it quits! When I first joined the club, it was made up of 8 people, and it so incredible to see how it has grown over the years. I quickly came to love the sport that brought together my love of cycling and swimming, while also giving me a taste of competition. I trained as an athlete with the Ogopogo Tri Club for 5 years, all the while training with the Ogopogo Swim Club. I took a year break to focus on swimming with the goal of provincials in mind, and then was back with the club as a coach the next year. Currently, I am in the first year of my Human Kinetics degree at UBCO, and I still love swimming, biking, x-c skiing, hiking, and playing outside. I am super pumped to be back for my third year with 8-9 group, and I can’t wait to pass on the lifetime sport and skills that triathlon has to offer!
Triathlete: tri-ath-lete, (trī-āth’lēt) n.
A person who doesn’t understand that one sport is hard enough.
“Whatever your 100% looks like, give it” – Unknown
Olivia Courtenay-Bio coming soon
Will Chloe Sollid-Gagner
Wall of Fame-Past coaches involved in the Ogopogo Triathlon Club
Brent Hobbs-Team Member & Open Water Swim Specialist & 10-11 Lead
Brent is a lifelong competitive swimmer who has participated as an athlete and race director in the sport of triathlon for over twenty years. Brent competed at a national level in the sport of swimming during his youth, and at the age of 40, he achieved his lifelong dream of swimming the English Channel. Brent’s two sons inspired him to join our coaching team. States Brent, “I had no idea training for triathlon could be so much fun. My kids just love it—especially the games and the friendships they have developed with the other kids. ” Brent has his Community Coaching Certificate in Youth Triathlon and Cross Country Skiing. He is also the open water swim coach for the Okanagan Masters Swim Club and he is a race director for the Kelowna Apple Triathlon and Open Water Swim.
Gord McInnes-Team Member and Youth Coach Mentor
My life is simple. Family First, Triathlon a close second. I do have to work a bit here and there to support both. Honestly if someday I could swim like Brent Hobbs, I will die happy. I obtained my community coaching certification 7 years ago and have now finished my NCCP Intro to Competition. I have competed in the World Triathlon Championships as an age grouper twice (Vancouver 2008, Auckland 2012) and am heading to Cozumel this year. I have raced in over 100 triathlons over the last 17 years and competed in the Oliver Half Ironman 12 straight years. I enjoy all races whether they be triathlon, mountain bike, road cycling, x-c ski, cyclo-x or trail runs – I LOVE TO RACE!
Safety is always a concern for your young athlete. I have worked as an emergency physician at Kelowna General Hospital for the last 14 years. I have seen many tragedies and hence have a huge slant towards safety in the pool, lake or while riding or running on the road or trail. I am always the first to put on my helmet and the last to take it off (and that’s on Run days!)
Kari Bailey- Team Member
I am so grateful to still be a part of this club that started in 2009 with a handful of young, eager, soon to be AWESOME triathletes. My own sport experience comes from a competitive swimming background, which started with the Fort Nelson Fins Summer Swim Club when I was 12, & continued through to the end of my education at UVIC & UWO. I started competing in triathlon in 1991 as an age grouper and moved up to the Canadian National Elite Team in 1995. I competed on the ITU World Cup race circuit for two years and ended my pro triathlon career with the Penticton Ironman in 1998. My coaching began early as assistant coach with the Fort Nelson Fins in 1986. After years of competition, mostly in swimming & triathlon, I again turned to coaching in 1998 and jumped in with both feet…I coached the Kelowna Masters Swim Club; ran a triathlon clinic through The Running Room; and began privately coaching a number of local adult triathletes. My attention turned to youth coaching after having children of my own and taking a youth triathlon coaching course from a former TriCan teammate Kristine Chambers. Kristine’s enthusiasm and ‘FUN & GAMES’ approach to coaching was new to me. A fun way to coach triathlon??? After years of being way too serious in the sport, I knew this was the right direction to take my continued involvement as a coach. I have enjoyed the entire process from starting-up the club in 2009, to experiencing the amazing growth and success of the club today, which is now under the direction of Gord McInnes. The coaching staff is out of this world AMAZING!!! I am fortunate to be a part of this volunteer group of people who continue to provide what we began on a grassroots level…accessible and affordable developmental sportfor youth. Kari Bailey COMP-INT Certified Triathlon Competitive Coach
Team Member & 8-9 Lead Jason Brescacin
My family and I are from Winnipeg MB and moved to Kelowna a little over a year ago when I was offered a RN position in the NICU at KGH. Both my kids started triathlon at the age of 3 and continue to race.(Now 10&6) After 2 or 3 years away from the sport myself, my 10yo son dared my to race again last summer! And here I am! I grew up not playing sports and until 1998 had never heard of Triathlon until watching Ironman Hawaii on TV. Well, 12 Ironmans later (9 here in Penticton) and too many sprints, olympics, 1/2IM’s, and running races to count I kinda got hooked. My coaching work got started by accident when I was asked by our local swim group to help with an intro to triathlon program they were doing at the YMCA. From there I took the NCCP Intro to Competition Course and began working with local athletes particularly interested in doing Ironman. From there I was asked to coach for the TriFactor Triathlon Club in Winnipeg. In 3 years we grew the small club of 20 or so members to over 80 members, and in the process started what has become one of the most successful kids multi-sport events in southern Manitoba.(The TriFactor Family Duathlon) which was also the only non profit race in the province donating all revenue to the Make a Wish Foundation. During the 3 years that I coached for TriFactor our members won awards through Sport Manitoba including most improved athlete twice, athlete of the year, and multiple race series winners. Then in 2009 much to my surprise I was recognized by Sport Manitoba as Triathlon Coach of the Year. I was shocked and amazed that I was being recognized for helping people I cared about, do something we all loved doing. Seemed like an easy job to me! I’m really excited to be able to share the sport of triathlon with the Ogopogo Club kids and their families, and can’t wait to have a ton of fun in the process. See you this Spring!!!
Team Member & RUN / Strength / Flexibility Specialist Rene Unser
Hi. I’m Rene! I love to spend time with my family in the mountains or travelling around the globe with them and being a Mom easily makes my favorite thing in the whole wide world. Next to that is coaching and my athletes are like my extended family in many ways. My coaching background varies, however these days, I mostly coach endurance athletes in the sport of trail running. Since I started my business 9 years ago (PACE Sports Fitness Trail Running Clinics, Races & Mountain Running Camps) I have coached a variety of triathletes, road runners & cyclists. I have also been in the fitness industry for over 20yrs and for as long as I can remember shared a passion for sport, health & fitness. I love to help others! Personally, I have completed numerous races. The past 5 years I have really focused on stage races varying from 5 to 8 days. Some running through jungles of Thailand or running from Germany through Austria, Switzerland & Italy via the Alps or Mountain Biking from Vancouver to Whistler via the Sunshine Coast. I have completed one triathlon… it was a half ironman and I really enjoyed it, however when I hear the mountains calling, I must go… There is no question, however that some of my greatest accomplishments, been through helping others reach their goals and I a super-excited to return for the 5th season as volunteer coach for this club. Certifications Include:
- NCCP Level 3 Endurance Running Certified
- NCCP Level 3 Endurance Running Theory
- NCCP Level 2 Middle Distance Running certified
- NCCP Level 1 Track’n’Field certified
- NCCP Road Riding Skills and Tactics Technical & Practical
- NCCP MTB Riding Skills and Tactics Technical & Practical
- BCRPA Advanced Fitness Leader (20 years)
- BCRPA Supervisor of Fitness Leaders
- BCRPA Weight Training Instructor
- ACE Personal Training Course
- Biomechanical Analysis for Sport Performance workshop
Chris Andruchow-Team Member
I moved to Kelowna with my wife back in 2001 from the flat lands of Edmonton. Like many who move here, I was surprised by how active everyone was (wake up call). Triathlon was my first introduction to an aerobic sport, and it was also how I met many of my good friends. I have competed in every length triathlon in BC, and in Washington state, including Ironman Canada. I have also done several 24 and 36 hour adventure races. Triathlon has fueled my love of biking, much to my wife’s chagrin, and I love to do the local masters road races, Grand Fondos, crits, and cyclcross races in addition to triathlons. My two kids have been doing triathlons for the past 6 years already, and now that they are involved in the Ogopogo Triathlon club, I would like to promote the sport that has been so good to me and my family. I will be organizing the club’s sponsored “Little Critter Race series”, and I will help promote the fall cyclocross races which are very kid friendly. This year I will be assisting the amazing Dave Kirk and his 12+ group. I have completed the TRI Community Coaching Course, and I have a special interest in promoting road riding within the club.
Jr Team Member Quinn Middleton
I have been racing in triathlon and cycling events for two years, getting my start as a kids of steel competitor. Last year I started racing sprint triathlons and competed at the National Championships in Edmonton. I love the thrill of racing and hope to rub off some of that joy on all the athletes in May. In the fall of 2010, I joined the Balance Point Racing Junior Development Team and since that time have been training in a much smarter and injury free way. My goals for the 2012 season include running my first half marathon and I might do a Olympic distance triathlon. In ten years I would like to be racing as a pro ironman triathlete and one day racing with the best on the lava fields in Kona at the Ironman World Championships. I am very excited to be helping out with coaching the tri club this year!!
I am heading into my 7th year competing in Triathlon’s. Since the age of 10, I have raced in 25 events. I have been fortunate enough to win a few, including the Western Canadian Championships a few years ago held here in Kelowna in 2010. Last year I competed in Tri Monroe a US national Youth Elite draft legal qualification event in Monroe Washington, in Edmonton at the Canadian Nationals and Western Canadian Kids of Steel championships and at the BC Summer Games, where I competed in an Aquathon, Duathlon and Triathlon over 2 days. In additional last summer I participated in Cycling BC’s Future Champions week long Identification Camp in Penticton. My plans this season are to race Sprint distances in 16-19 Jr Elite Triathlons and branch out and participate in some cycling stage races. I was a member of the Ogopogo Swim club and Tri club until last summer and now am swimming with the Kelowna Aquajets in an effort to continue to improve my swimming skills for triathlons. I have also worked with Rob Swan of Critical Performance Training as my coach for 5 years. I am looking forward to working with young triathletes and helping out with the Ogopogo tri club.
Team Member 12+ Group Taylor Lick
After taking several years off from triathlon, in order to finish my degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Calgary, I am back in Kelowna and ready to get back into triathlon. I spent 4 years competing at the junior elite level and had the incredible opportunity to compete at the Canada Summer Games in P.E.I. and the Pan American Championships in Oklahoma, and to train and work with many of the top athletes and coaches in the sport. My particular passion is long distance trail running and I hope to include a trail ultramarathon in my race schedule for the season. My goal is to promote youth and junior triathlon in Kelowna through coaching, leadership and organization. I would like to use my experience, knowledge and academic background to promote a well-rounded approach to triathlon and to incorporate and address the additional aspects involved in the sport beyond swimming, biking and running.
Trevor Haaheim-Team Member & Cycling Specialist
I am pretty sure I am the only coach or athlete in a triathlon club that has never participated in a triathlon! That’s right – I am a huge fan of triathlon but I have never done one myself. I will leave the specific triathlon skills to the other coaches. My aim is to pass on the skills and knowledge of riding road bikes that I have learned in my life as a road cyclist. My background in endurance sports is running and bicycle road racing. As a kid I ran cross country from the primary grades right through to grade 12. When it came to biking I was a hardcore BMXer all through elementary school but I sold my BMX and purchased my first road bike at 13 years old. Bike racing was alive and well back then in BC. Many junior races had 100 kids in the peloton! Mountain bikes still had not been invented and triathlon was just beginning. I took the last two years of my teens off from bike racing because I was trying hardto maintain body mass as an alpine ski racer. After hanging up the skis at 20, I wasted no time getting back into cycling. Throughout my twenties I rode as a category 1 road racer on the domestic North American road circuit and in New Zealand. I rode the track as well during those years and often wondered if Kelowna would ever see a velodrome built here. My strength was one day races and time trials but I did some reasonably tough stage races such as the Tour of New Zealand, Tour of Southland, and the Grande Prix de Beauce. In 1997 I retired from road racing due to an arterial impingement in my leg. At the time the cause was a unknown but 5 years later the mystery was solved and I underwent arterial surgery. After the surgery I was out of shape but I had full blood flow in both legs! I could run and ride again. By that time I was a new father and the thought of riding full time didn’t seem possible. How on earth do you find the time to ride if you have one child? Becoming a dad was a far greater adjustment for me than any athletic endeavor! However, with my vascular system 100% I thought I would start running again as it did not take as much time to train as riding. How could running 42k be any harder than riding a hilly, windy 200km bike race? I found out at about kilometre 38 in my first marathon that once your legs are finished, you can’t just “roll it in” like you can on the bike. Since 2003 I have run at least one marathon every year. I love the competition of marathons and hope to continue racing them but my first love is and always will be cycling.Having that first child back in 2001 has somehow turned into 5 children! Seeing my own children develop a love of cycling has been an incredible experience. I am very much looking forward to sharing all that I know about cycling with this years group of 12+ kids.
Martin Courtenay- Team Member
My number one passion is being a Dad to two daughters, aged 11 & 8. They have both been active in the Ogopogo Tri club now for three years and loved every part of it! I have been an endurance athlete for 16 years, starting with a few short triathlons and fun runs then graduating to triathlons of all lengths, adventure racing, cycling road and mountain bike racing. (time permitting to train……). Having an active lifestyle and committing to compete in many sports through my life has brought me immeasurable joy and countless opportunities for adventures. I have met some amazing individuals, from World Champions to Average Joes and the opportunity is there to see amazing places with this sport. My stand out memory of 2012 was competing in the Xterra World Championships in Maui and not melting in the tropical sun…………. Followed by a complete meltdown in the 2013 edition of the same race………………….. The Ogopogo triathlon club gives me an opportunity to give back to a sport that has given me so much. The enthusiasm of the athletes and watching their progress through the year is tremendously rewarding. The safety of our athletes, on the roads and in the water is my primary focus. I have some previous coaching experience from the world of Rugby, where in 1998 & 99, I was an assistant coach at Queens University in Kingston. During that time I completed my NCCP basic certificate and level 2 for Rugby. In 2013 I completed the Tri Community Coaching Course.