It's rare to find a 13-year-old who can beat adults in a sport.
Charlie Johnson, a tri-athlete, is in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
It's even rarer when it's not a sport such as darts or bowling, but arguably the most demanding sport in the world: the triathlon.
Charlie Johnson is the rare teen to accomplish that feat, however. He already has won two events this year and usually competes only in about four or five a year.
Most people would find it difficult to believe that a 13-year-old could take part in a triathlon (swimming, biking and running), let alone win them.
"A lot of people can't believe that I compete in triathlons," Charlie said. "But it is just like any other sport. If you practice, then you can do well."
Charlie has been competing in triathlons since the fifth grade after a friend of his parents introduced him to the grueling sport.
"I always loved to bike, so that was the easiest and most natural of the stages," he said. "Swimming was also pretty easy. Running is where I've had my biggest problem."
To help him overcome his running deficiency, Charlie joined the Lakeside Middle School track team.
"I still have to get out to a big lead in the biking and swimming events," he said. "But I am getting better."
Charlie, a straight-A pupil who wants to attend the Naval Academy, hopes to join the Lakeside High cross-country and swim teams as a freshman.
His mother, Kristy, says Charlie would like to swim in college and possibly after he graduates.
"He competed with Cambridge-Stevens Pointe in the CSRA Swim League and even won first in the 50-yard backstroke at the All Star Meet," she said. "I think he has a lot of potential in swimming."
Charlie's typical triathlon consists of a 200-meter swim, four- to five-mile bike ride and a mile run.
The adult meets he has competed in feature a 600-meter swim, a 12-mile ride and a five-kilometer run. Olympic distance is a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 24.8-mile bike and 10-kilometer run.
Charlie says he hopes to continue competing in the triathlon throughout his life, and said he would like to compete in the Olympics one day.
Meanwhile, he stays busy with a extracurricular rsum that includes the Beta Club, certified scuba diver, and co-president of Happy Trails Juniors animal rescue group.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.