Feb 14, 2014 7:26 PM by April Hansen, KSBY
A Cal Poly student turned a hobby into an Olympic dream.
Casey Bateman, 23, is training for the summer Olympics in 2016 as a triathlete. His journey started as a young kid swimming for the Santa Maria Swim Club. He has now committed himself to swim, bike and run for the gold.
"It's definitely been a different way to lead a life as a 23-year-old, but I wouldn't change anything about it," he said.
Bateman says he doesn't have a lot of free time these days.
"I have to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get on my bike for three hours before going to work or school and then go to work and having to do a workout at lunch time and coming home to do another workout. It's tough, but I love it," said Bateman.
But he says he will do whatever it takes to represent his country.
"I don't have enough words to explain the amazing feeling I get when I'm competing," said Bateman.
He says he is competing with thousands of other pro triathletes for only three spots on the Olympic team, so he says he has to train three times as hard.
"It's a challenge physically to do three different sports starting with a swim, which is mostly upper body and then getting onto a bike and riding for 40 kilometers and then right after get off the bike and run a 10K as fast as you can," he said.
Bateman started swimming when he was eight years old, so naturally, he is a force in the water.
"I'm usually one of the top two or three guys out of the water, which really leads into my weaknesses, which is the bike," said Bateman.
He has already competed in four pro races and holds records for three events, but what he hasn't accomplished yet is standing on the podium representing the red, white and blue.
"Hearing the national anthem and thinking about how well I have done in the past with an American flag on my back really pushed me and made me think I'm not done with this dream of mine to make an Olympic team," said Bateman.
He says tryouts start in May, so until then you can find him working his way to Rio.
"With the winter Olympics it just keeps building that motivation and we know we are a little more than two years out so it's business now," said Bateman.
An Olympic distance triathlon is a 1,500 meter swim, 40K bike and a 10K run.
Bateman has several sponsorships to support his Olympic journey.
You can also help him out. Here is his fundraising page: https://www.rallyme.com/rallies/331
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