Hill qualfies for HyVee Championships [Triathlon]

July 30, 2012
Damian Hill

Thanks to back-to-back top-5 finishes, Damian Hill of Bristol Bay is on his way to the national championships.

The fourth-year professional triathlete will participate in the grueling HyVee 5150 U.S. Championships, Sept. 2 in Des Moines, Iowa, where he will face the best in the world for $1 million in prize money.

“Olympic medalists get invited to this race,” he told me. “It’s pretty cool setting a goal and accomplishing it. I haven’t done that in a while, so I’m pretty pumped. I’m happy.”

Hill, a former commercial fisherman from Naknek, was fourth in a race two weeks ago in Huntsville, Ontario, and then over the weekend he placed fifth at a race in Columbus, Ohio.

“I did Canada to qualify and then this last one to seal the deal, and I ended up having a pretty good race,” he said. “It’s coming together.

“I’ve been racing hard for a while and now I’m going to sort of step back and work on some things, focus on some weaknesses I had in preparation for the big race.”

Hill got to this point alone. He dropped his coach and learned to trust himself more than ever.

As a result, the 29-year-old is enjoying a breakout season

“I’ve really been able to listen to my body and make sure I’m not overtraining, which I had problems with in the past,” he said. “I’m working smarter, not harder. If I’m dragging ass I back off a little bit, but if I’m feeling good I go hard.”