Triathletes don't seem to fit into specific shapes, ages or genders like tall athletes in basketball or powerful-looking football players. Men, women and youngsters compete in the three-event meets where they pit their skills and endurance against clocks and other competitors often just for the thrill of competition.
Matt Oleson, 13, Kathy Buresh, 30, and Patrick High, 28, are three Brandon-area triathletes who work hard to maintain the fitness needed to compete in triathlons throughout each year.
Buresh started out as a one-sport athlete who competed as a swimmer since she was 5 years old.
She earned all-American prep honors in the 50-, 200- and 500-meter freestyle while competing for the Crusaders at Tampa Catholic. Her efforts earned her an athletic scholarship to Clemson University, where she swam for a year before injuring both shoulders in a weightlifting accident.
While recuperating, Buresh started running to stay fit.
"I decided to try competing in triathlons about a year and a half ago," Buresh said. "I paid a fortune for a nice bike to make sure I stayed with it. Now I compete in triathlons about every other month and run in 5, 10 or 15K races about once a month. I love to compete, but fitness is the part I enjoy most."
Buresh, a supervisor in the finance department at Busch Gardens, trains seven days a week about two to three hours a day.
Running is the primary sport of the triathlon for Oleson, an eighth-grader at McLane Junior High.
He started running with his dad while still in elementary school and trains three to five times weekly for his running and triathlon meets. He also runs distance events for the McLane Viking boys track team.
The Medard Park Triathlon two weeks ago was his first effort as a triathlete. He placed first for boys ages 13-14 in the meet.
Oleson is also active in tae kwon do. He holds a second-degree black belt in the martial art and competes when he isn't running, cycling, swimming or studying.
He trains at least an hour a day, five days a week, in tae kwon do in addition to his other training.
High, of Seffner, concentrates all his athletic energies on the triathlon.
His first-place time of 55.21.2 at the Medard Park meet two weeks ago set a course record. He broke another course record last weekend in Gainesville with a 50:20 in the Gatorman Triathlon.
High started running ultra- marathons while a freshman at the University of Michigan. Some runs were 50 miles. He ran 60 miles a week to train.
Now he runs 30 miles a week, rides his bike 120-130 miles and swims as often as possible.
Running was the easy part of the triathlon for High. The running distances were much shorter than the monster marathons he was used to. Swimming and biking were a different story.
"I had never swum a single lap in competition and just found an old bike in the garage when I started in triathlons four years ago," High said. "My best event is running, so naturally I spend most of my training time on the swimming and biking."
High is part of Bike Rack II, an 11-person triathlon team in Tampa competing compete in the U.S. National Amateur Triathlon Championships in Hammond, Ind., on July 28.
The top five in each age category will become the U.S. National team, which will compete in the world championships in Australia in October.
"Winning a spot on the national team is a goal I set for myself a year ago," High said. "Other than that, I just want to enjoy the sport. Some of the best people I have ever met are triathletes. We all work hard together and have a great camaraderie."
Perdomo baseball camp: Summer is here and coach Charles Perdomo is preparing to train local youngsters 7 to 16 years old in Brandon's only baseball camp.
Future prep, college and professional hopefuls will have an opportunity to learn basic skills or improve what they have under the guidance of Perdomo, former Plant City baseball coach, and several high school coaches and college players in the area.
Included in the staff will be prep coaches Robert Campbell, Brandon; Larry Benton, Tampa Bay Vo-Tech; Greg Parris, East Bay and Richard Humphrey, Plant City.
Videotapes and game experience will be used to provide individual and group teaching.
The four five-day camp sessions will be available June 17-21, June 24-28, July 8-12 and July 15-19 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily at the South Brandon Little League Complex.
Cost per weekly session is $85.
For more information write to Charles Perdomo, 801 Knowles Road, Brandon, 33511, or call 681-5428.
Softball camp: Bloomingdale High softball coach Todd Long has coached the Bulls to three consecutive Western Conference titles and will teach local youngsters ages 8-15 in his first softball camp.
Two three-day sessions will be offered June 18-20 and June 25-27 from 9:30 to 1:30 p.m. daily at the Bloomingdale Little League Complex.
The training will include individual and multi-player drills. The cost is $50 per session.
To register or for more information, write Long, 411 Providence Road, Apt. 201, Brandon, 33511, or call 653-1120.
To report Brandon area sports, write to Around Brandon, c/o Terry Jones, St. Petersburg Times Sports, 723 W Lumsden Road, Brandon, 33510, or call 264-3394.