Name: Phillip McCatty
Years in the sport: 8
How did you get started in Triathlon?
I got started in Triathlon on a dare, based on the fact that I couldn’t swim at the time. I was involved in combat sports & I was in great shape, so it was just for fun. It didn’t seem like a particularly challenging endeavour – just a bit more cardio work & learning to swim a bit. No big deal. I could not have been more wrong. I was thoroughly chewed up & spit out at my first event (Guelph Try-A-Tri). I put on a wetsuit for the first time after renting it at the race site the morning of. I ended up doing a combination of breaststroke & dog-paddle after getting run over by my wave & at least 2 others from behind. I’m surprised I wasn’t pulled out. I remember being doubled-over at the finish line, in a world of hurt thinking “I’m sure I can do better than that”. Everything just took off from there.
Goals for this year?
My primary goal for this year is to compete in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia (April). I haven’t really looked past that milestone.
**Note: Phillip qualified for the 2018 Commonwealth games and competes this coming week!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m capable of anything. There are many possibilities in the very near future that could impact the direction that my life will take. We’ll see what happens.
What has been your biggest challenge as an athlete and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge as an athlete so far is based on being an adult-onset swimmer. It’s a work in progress. I’m overcoming it by directly addressing it head-on. I’m swimming A LOT. I’m surrounded by faster swimmers and-or a coach on deck 95% of the time. I’m never comfortable & that’s how I like it.
The best advice that you have been given?
Never. Give. Up.
If you were not an athlete, what would you be doing?
It’s really hard to imagine not being an athlete in some capacity. I would probably be more involved in Physics & Engineering. Perhaps research or teaching. Being a Master LEGO® Builder would be very good possibility too 🙂
Triathlon takes up quite a bit of time, but outside of that, I enjoy doing a bit of design work, mainly using AutoDesk Inventor for projects (Mechanical Engineering, McMaster 2011).
I enjoy a wide variety of music. I don’t have a favourite genre in particular.
Jason Bourne Series, & most of James Patterson’s work.
What does a typical day of training look like?
Each day is different & it really depends on the time of year. It typically starts off with a swim at 05:30. There is usually a bike and-or run later in the day. I frequently swim doubles as well. Yoga, recovery, napping are all sprinkled in there, along with work. Sometimes all of the above.
Anything people be surprised to learn about you?
People are often surprised to learn that I grew up on an island surrounded by the Caribbean Sea & had no interest in swimming during that time. It’s actually quite typical in Jamaica. Visiting usually involves a beach somewhere, & by extension – swimming. Living & working there is a different matter entirely. However, here in North America, swimming is a big part of kids recreation & I think it is seen as something that is a given, like learning to drive or ride a bike.
Any pre-competition rituals?
For Triathlon, I check all my gear & familiarize myself with T1, T2, as well as the first part of the Bike & Run courses. A good swim warm-up is paramount. Before the start, I mentally review each part of the race execution & visualize a successful performance.
Favourite food while training?
I don’t consume very much while training. I typically plan my nutrition for before & after. For swimming, I always go in fasted & eat afterwards. For cycling & running, I’m careful to fuel beforehand with enough time to settle & then get to work. For longer workouts, I’ll have bananas, dates, etc on the go. In any case, I consume real food as much as possible. No gels, supplements, etc.
Results you’re most proud of?
The ones I’ll earn this year.
What inspires you?
My mother. She raised me as a single parent & did everything she could to provide for me. She is mentally tough & there is no force on earth that can shake her.
Do you have a saying or motto you live by?
Small Axe cut down Big Tree – Jamaican Proverb
What do you enjoy most about racing?
I enjoy all parts of racing. There is something about being on the rivet & giving 100% that is really hard to describe. Also, seeing consistent, hard work pay off on race day is one of the most rewarding feelings.
Advise that you have for someone starting out in triathlon?
1) Enjoy the process & keep an open mind. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth it.
2) Respect the sport. Respect the distance. Respect the conditions. Respect your competition.
What is the most crucial part of your training?
The most crucial part of my training is balance. There are so many parts of the sport that it really is a juggling act – not only from a time management perspective. The components rarely exist in isolation & often times affect each other, so it is really an art. I achieve balance by being in tune & listening to what my body is telling me so that I’m able to get the most out of my training.
Anyone you would like to thank?
Mat Reid [Head Coach, Fighting Koalas Triathlon Team], Alex Parent & Drew Noris [Swim Coaches, Golden Horseshoe Aquatic Club].
Anything else you would like to share?
Thank you for the interview.