9-year-old trains for triathlon

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal

Harry Meyer tries to hide a crooked smile as he confesses he can be "hyper sometimes."

But the 9-year-old Bethlehem Lutheran School fourth-grader has got the antidote.

"When I'm hyper I go outside and run around or go swimming," he says.

And he does a lot of both.

Sitting outside the dressing rooms at the Carson Aquatic Facility, Harry shivers a little as water drips from his hair. He's spent the last hour swimming laps in the outdoor pool as practice for the Tigersharks swim team.

But that's just the beginning. He is training to compete in the Capital City Kids Triathlon in Mills Park, as he done each year since he was 5.

Harry swims every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. From there, he runs in Mills Park with his father and 11-year-old brother, KC, who is also competing in the triathlon.

Harry rides his bike to and from the swim center from his home near Carson Middle School, and says he's ready to compete in all three events.

Although no official standings are kept, Harry finished first in his age division last year and thinks he may do the same this year.

"I bet so," he says.

If he doesn't, though, he won't be upset.

"I don't really care."

When his father hears this, he balks. "What?" he laughs. "We better fix that." And the two tap knuckles.

His dad, Kurt Meyer, recreation operations manager for the Carson Aquatic Facility, organized the first Capital City Kids Triathlon five years ago after seeing a similar event in Reno.

"I thought we could do that in Mills Park and just have a blast with it," he said.

As it has progressed, he said, the compliment he hears most is that it's a great family event.

He encouraged parents, even if their children aren't involved in other sports, to enter them in the race.

"Don't be intimidated by it," he said. "It's so much fun. Hopefully, it gives them a sense of accomplishment."

Each child who participates receives a T-shirt and a medal, Meyer said, and winners are not named.

"It's a great reason to get off the couch, he said.

Harry's biggest competition, he said, is against himself.

"I try to beat my running time."

But he does have a competitive streak, which is what keeps him motivated throughout the race.

"If there's someone if front of me, I'm saying to myself I want to pass them," he explains. "If there's someone behind me, I want to get way more ahead of them."

When not training for triathlons, Harry also plays baseball, swims, competes on the freestyle ski team at Diamond Peak and plans start football this fall.

His favorite sport, he says, is skateboarding, and he competes in those events as well.

"If I'm tired one day I take a nap," he says. "Then I get up and do something else."

- Contact reporter Teri Vance at tvance@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1272.

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