This article was originally published on Trimes' website.
We at Trimes have been following Amélie Kretz since the very beginning of her triathlon career. The path she took in her development allowed us to better understand the many different steps necessary to reach the World Series. Though she found success both at the junior and U23 levels (bronze in WC London, gold in WC Edmonton), it is only through experience at the highest level that she could confirm her place in the World Series. We chatted with her following her recent 13th place finish at WTS Gold Coast which could prove to be a defining moment in her career. Her early success proves that an elite career in ITU is very accessible to our your triathletes developing in ‘la belle province’.
Your fresh off a long stay in Australia. Surely you don’t regret spending so much time there?
Yes, I’m just coming back from Australia, and I don’t regret my choice. This was the first time that I spent the winter months in a warmer climate and I really enjoyed being able to train outdoors all year round. My vision change a little bit since I was training with some of the world’s best women. This is what I needed in order to continue my progression. Each training session, someone was in a good day which allowed me to push myself to my limits. It was very intense and very performance oriented. Every day was a learning experience.
You must have learned a lot training with Gwen Jorgensen…
I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the chance to train with her, and to learn from her. For sure, this helped both my development and my confidence.
Can you speak on Jamie Turner’s philosophy? How is it different from the Canadian way?
I’d say that Jamie focuses more on intensity than volume. There are lots of coaches that really emphasize volume in training. With Jamie, the volume isn’t really high, but he makes up for it with lots of intensity. Also, the fact he coaches a group of international athletes is an advantage. Being around athletes from a bunch of different places allows us to learn more about ourselves and forces us to be open to different training techniques and philosophies.
You took part in your first WTS event in Auckland, crashed on the bike and were forced to abandon the race. Did this bring any doubt into you in regards to your ability to succeed on the WTS circuit?
No. As a matter of fact, the swim and the little bit of bike I did during the race confirmed that I have a place on the circuit. I was able to analyze the results of the girls I’ve been training with all winter and that also gave me confidence in regards to being able to race WTS.
Gold Coast featured a complicated triangular shaped swim course. Your thoughts?
The triangular shaped lent itself to aggressive swimming, especially around the buoys. It was crucial to have a good start and to say near the front to avoid the traffic jams in the turns.
On the bike, you were with the lead group. That must have been a goal for you heading into the race?
Absolutely. I was happy when I reached the lead pack on the bike, but I knew that with Duffy in the group, we would have to work hard. My foot injury from last year was a blessing in disguise because it gave me time to work on and improve my bike. I was confident in my technical skills so I knew that I’d be able to contribute to the lead group.
You were a victim of your position in the pack when Carolina Routier crashed, getting caught up behind the commotion. You guys worked hard to make up ground to the few that were able to squeeze ahead, accelerating after the crash…
I had just taken a pull at the front of the group and found myself behind Carolina just before she crashed. I was forced to slow down and go around her when another rider broke her chain, again forcing me to go around. I did what I could to chase down the lead group, but with Duffy leading that group, I was never able to bridge the gap.
You were finally caught up to by riders in the chase group. What went through your head?
At that point, there wasn’t much I could do. I tried to pull my weight in this group as much as I could, but most girls lost motivation and I had no intention of doing all the work myself. Rather, I focused on staying safely near the front of the pack to avoid any other mishaps.
What were you thinking when you got off the saddle?
There are about 8 girls ahead, half of which are not the greatest of runners. The race isn’t over until it’s over. Time to chase them down.
During the run, you ended up with Emma Moffat. Did you realize you were running with one of your childhood idols?
I did realize this, and it was slightly intimidating. That said, I tried to stay in the moment and to not think of the ‘names’ that were running around me. I train everyday with the World Champion, which has made it easier to stay focused and grounded when I find myself surrounded by the all of the sports big names.
In the end, you finished 13th. This result could be frustrating considering the way the bike played out, but do you prefer to see it as a confirmation that you belong?
For sure it’s a bit disappointing, but like you said, it confirms that I belong in the WTS. I can’t wait to race other events and to do even better. I know what I have to work on.
I imagine that this is comforting to your Olympic aspirations?
Yes, but Rio is still a long ways away (1 year and a half). Lots of things can happen between now and then. Right now, I’m trying to focus on the present and to work on my weaknesses.
You’ve taken part in 2 WTS events. Is it anything like you had imagined? Any surprises?
It’s pretty much how I imagined it. The caliber is very strong and the slightest mistake can prove to be very costly. Details are very important at this level.
What do you have to work on now?
My swim starts on the pontoon, and my run. I have to be patient with the run following 4 months off due to injury in 2014. It’s coming, slowly but surely. Patience is key.
You faced adversity in 2014. Did this change you in any way?
For sure it made me stronger. It allowed me to work on the bike and now I can really see the difference. My legs are a lot fresher coming off the bike. It also gave me a chance to get to know myself and my body a little better.. to understand when to push and when to hold back. It was a great learning experience.
WTS London, Pan-Am games (if I’m selected), Rio test event, WTS Edmonton and the World Championships in Chicago. Things can change but for the time being, that’s the game plan!