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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Daniel Bretscher claims Elite Rookie of the Year

Friday, March 20, 2009

Daniel Bretscher crosses the finish line, claiming his lone first place finish of the year at the Spirit of Morgantown.
All athletes covet one thing their first professional season -- the Rookie of the Year award.

Daniel Bretscher can stop chasing that dream because he has been awarded the 2008 Elite Rookie Athlete of the Year award by USA Triathlon.

The interesting thing is that Bretscher didn't just have to master one sport to win the award -- he mastered three. A triathlon is made up of three events -- swimming, cycling and running -- that totals 70.3 miles and he does it all in about four hours.

"Receiving this award is the highlight of what a great summer of racing for me," Bretscher said. "Last year, I was awarded Age Group of the Year."

One thing is for sure, Bretscher truly earned his award, as he had six top six finishes and placed 19th in the World Championships. Of his top six finishes, one was a first place finish in the Spirit of Morgantown, along with a second, a third and a fourth place finish. He was the first American to cross the finish line in those races. In the World Championships, he was the fourth American to finish the race.

"Amongst Americans, I had a few first place finishes, but once you start racing professionally, you are racing against the best of the world," Bretscher said. "When I decided to turn pro, I was a little nervous. I knew it was a big step because I was going to be racing against the best in the world and I didn't know what would happen.

"But it turned out well," he added.

With his rookie season out of the way, Bretscher says that he's going to focus on making this sport a way of life.

"I want to get to that level where I can make the triathlon a permanent job and turn it into a career for me," Bretscher said. "The triathlon isn't bringing in the money like the PGA, so it comes down to a lot of hours every day and making it a lifestyle.

"I mean you're training 11 months out of the year and competing nine months of the year, so it's demanding, but it is something that I am passionate about," Bretscher said. " To make a living at it, I am going to do everything in my power to do it."

When Bretscher said that being a triathlete was a lifestyle, he wasn't joking.

"I consistently train for six hours a day," he said. "I'm usually on the bike for two to three hours and follow that up with about 60 minutes or more of running and that's just in the morning.

"Then I go home, eat, and take a nap. Then I get up and swim for a couple hours at the pool. So it pretty much becomes a lifestyle and if you are going to make a living as a professional triathlete, you have to make it a lifestyle," Bretscher said.

Being a triathlete does come with a burden -- traveling.

"Not every triathlon has the money to put up $20,000 or $50,000 to attract the talent of the professional racers so I have to do a lot of traveling to make ends meet," Bretscher said. "The nearest pro race to here is in Chicago."

Even though he is racing professionally now, Bretscher still runs races close to his hometown so if anybody wants to see what a professional triathlete looks like; take a drive to Terre Haute on May 30 and watch Bretscher take part in the 24th annual Thunder in the Valley Triathlon at Hawthorn Park.