Wembley mother of four overcomes fear of swimming to become a top 10 ranked triathlete


Wembley resident Katherine Ryan and Vincent Mayor Emma Cole. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d476050
Wembley resident Katherine Ryan and Vincent Mayor Emma Cole. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d476050

A FEW years ago, duathlete and triathlete Katherine Ryan (48) still could not swim, traumatised by a near drowning experience as a child.

She is now a world champion.

The mother of four self funded a trip to Canada in August to represent Australia at the ITU Duathlon World Championship.

She was one of 3000 competitors who took on a 10km run, 40km cycle and 5km run and won the 45-49 year old age group by four seconds.

Then in September, Ryan competed in the ITU Standard Triathlon World Championships in Rotterdam, took on a 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run and came in seventh place, giving her a world ranking.

Now back in Perth boasting her medals, the Beatty Park instructor and personal trainer is preparing for the ITU Standard Triathlon World Championships on the Gold Coast next year.

“Ever since I was little I was athletic, any team sport or gymnastics at school; I was not academic,” she said.

“But I had to learn how to swim, all I could do was float and I nearly drowned when I was nine, I lost my board, I was pulled under, it was a bad situation.

“Then I came to a country where I’m surrounded by water, so I chose a job that incorporates me having to swim 200m in four different strokes.

“Then a girlfriend asked me to swim to Rottnest in a group and so I trained for that and got through it.”

Ryan’s dreams of world champion status were almost put on hold when she was diagnosed with a form of rheumatoid arthritis about four years ago.

“I was in pain every day for five months, but I had to keep moving,” she said.

“Ongoing iron man training enhanced things and I qualified for a competition in Hawaii, but I got there and everything seized up.

“I finished, got the shirt but thought I’d never do it again.

“It’s now under control.”

City of Vincent mayor Emma Cole said Ryan was “an inspiring role model” for girls and women.

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