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EWI Works Senior Ergonomist Qualifies for Triathlon World Finals

Andrea Opyr crossing triathlon finish line qualifying

Last summer Andrea Opyr crossed the finish line of the Victory Triathlon at 1 hour 24 minutes. Elated and exhausted after a 750-meter swim, 20-km bike, and 5-km run, Andrea had a surprise waiting for her.

She qualified to represent Canada at the 2019 World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland, Aug. 29 to Sept. 1. 

EWI Works Senior Ergonomist Qualifies for Triathlon World Finals

Andrea is a senior ergonomist at EWI Works. She’s been with us for six years, previously working in occupational therapy and as a fitness trainer.

Andrea says it was a fluke that she qualified, but we don’t believe her. 

Victory was only the second triathlon Andrea had ever competed in. But after qualifying, she was resolute she’d make the most of it.

“It’s quite a big deal, because this is everyone from all over the world across various ages that have qualified.” says Andrea.  

“So I think it’s going to be a really tough and extremely competitive race. I heard the race itself is quite hilly so that should be fun.”

Andrea Opyr triathlon
Senior Ergonomist Andrea Opyr qualified for the Triathlon World Grand Final.

For the past year, Andrea has been training with a Team Canada national coach, focusing on swimming in particular. In just a few weeks she’ll be dipping her toes into the chilly depths of Lake Geneva. After 750 meters in the water, she’s in for 20 km on her bike before the last 5 km by foot.

After two more triathlons this year, Andrea says she’s ready.

“I feel like I’m almost in the best shape that I’ve ever been in. I’ve quite enjoyed all my training, but it does get a little exhausting and takes up a lot of my time!”

Training for a Triathlon

Andrea trains up to three hours in the evening six days a week, usually combining two of the three sports, but occasionally just swimming. 

“It can get hectic in the water, jumping in with an anxious crowd. People end up hitting you and kicking you while you’re swimming,” says Andrea, who’s found previous swims to be a trying part of the race.

But at the ITU Triathlon in Edmonton two weeks ago – Andrea’s fourth ever and second since qualifying for world’s – she was in full form, finishing an astounding second place in her age category and qualifying for next year’s World Grand Final!

The pressure will be on in 2020 as Andrea races in front of the hometown crowd in Edmonton!

Where she’s looking to improve in Switzerland is her transition – that is, the process of getting out of the water, changing from your wetsuit to biking gear and then carrying the bike past the mounting line. There’s a similar process when transitioning from the bike to the run.

“There’s a lot to think about and setup. You can get penalties for not doing things properly.”

Andrea has always been an athlete, particularly a runner, and started competing in marathons during university. It’s challenging, though, to balance working all day and training most of the evening.

Work-Life Balance

It goes a long way, she says, to work for a company that encourages everyone to pursue their own interests and take time off when they need to train or be away.

“That’s the thing with our work environment, everybody’s really supportive of our interests and hobbies. We’re always rooting for each other,” Andrea says.

The more fulfilled employees are, the more fulfilling workplace they create. Having an athlete like Andrea on our team is a huge asset.

Her advice for the rest of us: listen to your body and set goals. “It pushes you to achieve things that you never thought were possible,” she says.

Andrea isn’t sure exactly what’s in store for her after the World Triathlon Grand Final, but she knows she’s not done yet.

“Next year, I’m hoping to do something a little bit longer maybe. Kind of push myself to do something more, as long as the swimming goes well in Lausanne and the race itself.”

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