Pint-sized triathlete already bringing it at age 10!
Devon Ottinger, 10
School: Blossom Hill Elementary School
Accomplishment: Devon won the 2010 Jenny's Light Kids Triathlon, a series of multi-sport endurance events in which she swam 150 yards, cycled four miles and ran one mile in immediate succession.
Key to Awesomeness: Her voice is as sweet as cotton candy but at age 10, Devon Ottinger also has a will of iron. Competing in triathlons since she was four years old, Devon accumulated the most points in the four-part Jenny's Light Kids Triathlon series (held at San Jose State University) to became the overall winner in her 9-11 year-old age group. Jenny’s Light was started by pro triathlete Becky Lavelle, who lost her twin sister Jenny and nephew Graham to postpartum depression. “Jenny went through postpartum depression,” explains Devon, “so the organization’s goal is to raise money for people with postpartum depression.”
Devon’s favorite part of being in a triathlon is the start of a race because she loves swimming. Her best stroke is freestyle and she has competed in both pools and lakes. As with most athletes, eating healthy foods is a priority. Devon, who has never been to McDonald’s, enjoys a pre-race meal of whole wheat toast slathered with peanut butter. When she wants to splurge, she treats herself to frozen yogurt (pomegranate flavor) topped with chocolate chips and Sno Cap candy.
In an interview with USA Triathlon magazine, Devon confessed her perfect day would be to attend a swim meet with Michael Phelps “because he’s a really awesome swimmer. Maybe I would work out with him if I could keep up.”
When she grows up, Devon, who is in the fourth grade, wants to be a neurologist. She became interested in this career choice after her mom, Wendy Ottinger, a fifth-grade teacher at Blossom Hill Elementary School, studied the brain in graduate school. Her fascination was further piqued after she participated in a Junior M.D. camp at The Tech Museum last summer.
Another activity she loves is the Kids Triathlon Camp, which is offered through the Los Gatos-Saratoga Community Education & Recreation program. This summer will mark Devon’s fourth year taking the camp.
“Coaches Pete and Shari Kain are so nice. We train Monday-Thursday, then participate in a triathlon on Friday. I like that the race is not a very big deal, unlike last summer when she traveled to San Diego for Nationals. “It was really crazy. I had a lot of people cheering me on so I felt pressured to do well,” says Devon, who placed a respectable 12th place out of 40 kids in her age group.
Devon hopes to continue building on her racing experience so she can one day compete in an Ironman triathlon. “We watch the Ironman triathlons on television so I’ve seen a lot of people do them. It seems like once you do one, you’ll be really proud of yourself.”
When asked if Devon has a shot at being a future Ironwoman, LGHS alum Pete Kain, owner of Kain Performance and a four-time Ironman, says, “Oh yeah. Absolutely. Devon's the type of kid who, once she puts her mind to something, she’s going to do it.” Have a valedictorian, sports team, school club or any other outstanding youngster or youth group you would like to nominate for this column? Send your suggestions to Kim Ratcliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us in the comments.