Cindy Bither
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VMI Aquathletes Advance to World Championships

FullTextImage/img/@alt Jenny and Pieter deHart train on the VMI track earlier this month. --VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.

LEXINGTON, Va., Aug. 22, 2013 -- After a summer of intense training and racing, Maj. Jenny deHart, physical plant sustainability coordinator, and Maj. Pieter deHart, assistant professor of biology, will travel to London to compete in the Aquathlon World Championships Sept. 11.

The competition will be held in Hyde Park and will consist of a 1,000-meter swim in the park’s famed Serpentine, followed by a five-kilometer run.

To qualify for the world championships, the two had to prove themselves at the national championships at Lake Logan, N.C., Aug. 4, where both took first place in their age groups.

Also qualifying for the world championship was Deanne Moosman, part-time instructor of biology, who placed second in her age group at the national competition; however, Moosman decided against traveling to London in September.

The national championships consisted of a 1,500-meter swim and a five-kilometer run.

“I enjoyed it. People came from all over the country,” said Jenny deHart. “There were competitors from California, Massachusetts, you name it. We had a good time connecting with people we had met from past events.”

The quick turnaround between competitions gives the deHarts just over four weeks to return to top form for the world championships.

“We’ll build up the training intensity for the next couple of weeks, and then taper down until the competition,” said Jenny deHart, noting that rest will be essential before going up against the top aquathletes in the world.

The sport is much more established in other countries than it is in the United States. Top competitors include athletes from this year’s host nation.

“There’s going to be very intense competition there because they take this sport very seriously in England. They have a lot of support for it, and they have very competitive athletes,” said Pieter deHart. “England, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil always have tons of really fast athletes.”

The sport is growing in popularity, with the United States fielding ever more competitive athletes on the world stage.

“It’s great to see the growth of the sport here in the U.S.,” said Pieter deHart. “It’s neat to see younger people getting involved.”

–John Robertson IV