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Guelph athlete to take in triathlon at Commonwealth Games

'I just hope to make Canada proud by putting my best foot forward and doing the best I can on the day,' says Dominika Jamnicky

When Guelph’s Dominika Jamnicky steps to the line for the start of the women’s triathlon in the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham, England, early on July 29, she’ll have a simple goal.

She’ll be aiming to better her own performance at the previous Commonwealth Games four years ago at Gold Coast, Australia.

“I would like to be in the main section, for sure,” the 29-year-old said. “I know there’s going to be a few fast women going off the front. I’m not quite there in that level, but I’m not counting myself out. If I can get into that main pack – I finished 14th in 2018 and if I can better that finish, I would be very, very happy.”

The 2018 Commonwealth Games, her first major games competition, had a bit of a hometown feel for Jamnicky who was born in Australia and came to Canada in 2004 when her father got a job in this country.

“It was great. I have a bit of family still in Australia so I had lots of support there from the family,” she said. “Individually, it was a strong race. I know there’s a few things that I could have maybe tactically done a bit better, but this is why I get another opportunity at the end of July to improve upon my result that I had in 2018.”

While the Jamnickys settled in Port Hope, Dominika came to Guelph six years later.

“I picked the University of Guelph mostly for the schooling and to join at the time one of the national training hubs for triathlon,” she said.

That training centre is part of history now, but Jamnicky stayed in the Royal City to finish her schooling. She’s now completing a chiropractic degree at a specialized college in Toronto, something that has had to be figured into her busy schedule.

She has a minimum number of hours of internship to do each month and that can require a bit of planning to accomplish. Early this month she competed in an international triathlon in Germany, but had to return to Canada to get her time in at the clinic the following week. Ideally she would’ve stayed in Europe and then returned to Canada after the Commonwealth Games.

“Our season can basically run from March all the way through to November,” she said. “Having a plan for the year and targeting races that you feel would benefit you, you select those races and then you make a plan from there.

“You have these mini training blocks. You’d do a training block and go to a few races and then you’ll restart, basically – get back to some of that intensity. It’s basically just planning out the year and making sure the training matches the race schedule. It takes a little bit of work, but I have a really good coach who oversees all that so it helps.”

Her coach is her partner, Kyle Boorsma, the Guelph native and former three-time male athlete of the year at the U of G when he was competing on both the track and cross-country teams.

“The good thing about having him as a coach is that he knows my schedule better than anyone else in terms of schooling and coaching and training,” Jamnicky said. “He’s able to put together for me a plan that works and that I can adapt to my current lifestyle.”

Jamnicky’s training this year has led to a successful start to the season.

“For me, so far it’s been a pretty strong year,” she said. “I won a Continental Cup back in May in Punta Cana and then finished 11th in a World Cup in Mexico in early June and then was off to Montreal the following weekend for the world triathlon championship series race where I finished 28th individually and our relay finished fifth in what was the world relay championships.”

Jamnicky did receive plenty of motivation last fall as the alternate for the Canadian team at the Olympics in Tokyo.

“I got a little bit of a taste of the Olympic scene,” she said. “I didn’t get called up to race, but that was fine. The girls were healthy and good to race and I was just happy to be there in a supporting role and be on standby if needed. I think having the experience both from Gold Coast and from Tokyo will be something that I'll be able to use to sort of optimize my performance in Birmingham this month.”

While Jamnicky said her favourite of the three sports that make up the triathlon is currently the running segment, she also admitted that it changes year to year. And all three are crucial to an athlete’s finish.

“In the style of racing that I do, the swim really sets you up at the end of the day so if you want to be making the lead pack and you want to cross the line first on the run, well you've got to get in that lead pack in the swim,” she said. “A lot of people downplay the swim, but the swim is very important. The bike, in order to stay in the pack or move up, is definitely important and then really at the end of the day it comes down to that run finish. I’d say all three are quite equal. If you want to be the best in the world, you have to be good at all three.”

Jamnicky is hoping to be good in all three segments at the Commonwealth Games.

“It’s an honour to be selected to represent Canada at a major games,” she said. “It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of doing and to be able to do it multiple times is an honour. I just hope to make Canada proud by putting my best foot forward and doing the best I can on the day.”

And a return trip to the Olympics is always on her mind.

“Ultimately I would love to go to Paris (in 2024) and have my own spot,” she said. “I'm definitely doing what I can right now during this Olympic qualification period to ensure that I give myself the best opportunity to make that team. It’s going to be hard. There are a few good women in the country that are vying for the same spots. It’ll be tough, but I’m going to do the absolute best I can.”