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Novice Greenwich Triathlete Quickly Joins Elite

GREENWICH, Conn. – Bob Dahl made his debut in the Jarden Westchester Triathlon in 2009. He showed in Sunday's race that he has come a long way in just a few short years.

Dahl, 55, finished third overall and won his age group at the Olympic-distance event, finishing in 2:09:49. Ryan Siebert, 20, of Patchogue, N.Y., won the race in 2:01:21, and Mauricio Sanchez, 29, of New York took second in 2:08:18.

"I was surprised,'' Dahl said. "Last year I was 14th, so this was a big improvement." He does the Westchester race every year as a Team in Training fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Donations for the cause can be made on Dahl's fundraising page.

The Westchester race capped an outstanding summer for Dahl, who works in the investment business. In six triathlons, he won his age group five times. The only one he didn't win was in the USA Age Group National Championships , where he finished eighth. He scored age-group victories in the New York City Triathlon in August and the Pat Griskus Triathlon in June.

Dahl's first triathlon was in 2008 after he was "talked into it by the mother of one of my daughter's friends." He ran the New York City Marathon in 1986 and 1997 and played lacrosse and soccer in college. He maintained fitness but rarely competed. "I tried the triathlon and found that I enjoyed it,'' he said.

Dahl swims at the Greenwich YMCA and does his other training at home. Swimming is his weakest triathlon discipline. "I'm good at the things that have no skill to them,'' he said. "The one that requires skill is swimming, and I'm bad at that."

That was evident at the Age Group Nationals, where he finished more than three minutes behind the race winner in that leg of the race. Dahl's times on the bike and in the run were among the top three in the age group race. "I was a little disappointed there,'' he said. "With a better swim I could've placed higher. There's room for improvement."

With a wife and four children who "put up with my training idiosyncrasies,'' Dahl will step back for the next few months to play golf and recharge for next summer's triathlon season. He plans to return to the Age Group race next year and compete in New York City and Westchester again. "I'm very happy with this summer,'' Dahl said. "It was a good year."

Contact Tom Renner at trenner@mainstreetconnect.us .

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