Oakland resident Luke Rosser, 14, placed first in the boys 14-year-old division at the USA Triathlon Youth and Junior Nationals July 31 in Ohio. The combined time for Rosser’s 200-meter swim, 10-kilometer bike ride and 2K run was 32 minutes, 8 seconds.
1. What is the most enjoyable part of competing in triathlons for you? I enjoy racing and running down my competitors.
2. To those unfamiliar with triathlons, can you describe what it’s like to compete in one? Competing in a triathlon is putting three sports together. Swim, bike then run. It’s exciting, and I get an adrenaline rush. Putting all three sports together and competing after hours of training is fun.
3. A lot of kids your age are content with simply playing video games and watching television. What led to your decision to challenge yourself by competing in triathlons? My parents were active competitors and I have grown up watching them compete. It looked like fun, so I started racing when I was 7 years old.
4. You earned first place at the USA Triathlon National Championship for your age group. After all your training, how did it feel it to win and stand on the podium with your gold medal? It felt awesome to stand on the top level and have the gold medal placed around my neck, realizing the goal I set out to achieve one year earlier was happening, and I achieved my dream!
5. What is the most challenging part of competing in triathlons for you? The most challenging part for me is the swim.
6. What are some others you’ve competed in? I have competed in many local races, Pineapple Man Triathlon in Melbourne FL, Meek & Mighty in St. Pete, IronKids in Fl, Ga, and Iowa, and the State Championships every year in Sebring Fl. 7. What has living with type one diabetes while simultaneously training yourself to participate in athletic competitions taught you? It has taught me the importance of tracking my blood sugars during my training, as well as before and after races, to know how my body reacts to those stresses.
8. How often do you train per week and how does your condition affect your training? I train 6 days per week, two of those days are with my triathlon coach. High-intensity training tends to raise my blood sugar, so I have to be aware of that and treat it depending on what my blood sugar levels are.
9. What do you hope this win inspires other kids with similar challenges to consider? I hope other kids will see that diabetes doesn’t have to limit them in what they can achieve, and that exercise is important.
10. You also give motivational speeches as part of your role as a youth ambassador for the American Diabetes Association. What is that like and what do you do as the youth ambassador? I enjoy speaking to kids and adults to share my story. I hope that when I do share my story, it makes an impact on others, and it potentially saves someone’s life. Being the American Diabetes Association youth ambassador has allowed me to reach so many in my community, along with encouraging them and empowering them.
11. What advice would you give an athlete who might feel discouraged by a recent diagnosis of a serious health condition? I would tell them I have been there, and I know what it’s like. I would share with them my own story, and tell them since it’s not going away, they can overcome their challenge and chase their dreams.
12. What sports clubs are you currently involved in, and what are your plans for the near future? I am on the South West Stars Swim Team, and I am on the Endorphin Fitness Triathlon Team. My goals and plans in the future are to continue racing triathlons on the draft legal racing circuit, then onto ITU racing and in 4 or 8 years qualify for the USA Triathlon Olympic Team! My ultimate goal is to be an Olympian. I also hope to one day get my pro triathlete card, and race Ironman races. In that mix I plan to go to college and study Sports Physiology.