Sarah Haskins’ Secret Weapon

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Olympic hopeful says training with supplemental oxygen has helped improve her speed.

The faster Sarah Haskins-Kortuem runs, the better the chances of the Americans breaking back onto the Olympic podium in triathlon. And her secret weapon is an oxygen mask.

Treadmill workouts utilizing supplemental oxygen have opened the door for the Olympic Training Center resident to improve her speed, and she’s optimistic her diligence will pay dividends next month when she attempts to punch a ticket to the 2012 London Games.

Shooting for her second Olympic berth, Haskins-Kortuem, 30, can become the first U.S. qualifier if she’s the highest-placing American woman and if she finishes in the top nine at a world championship series event Aug. 6 in London. She’ll be joined by OTC resident Jillian Petersen, Laura Bennett of Boulder, Sarah Groff and Gwen Jorgensen, and on the men’s side, OTC residents Matt Chrabot and Hunter Kemper, Manuel Huerta and Jarrod Shoemaker also will compete on the Olympic course, with Aug. 7 their date to qualify.

Haskins-Kortuem has been taking hour-long supplemental oxygen jogs the past month at the OTC, at the advice of her husband, Nate, who doubles as her coach, and OTC sports nutritionist Bob Seebohar. They think supplemental oxygen will allow Haskins-Kortuem, who ended last year ranked No. 14 in the world and was No. 6 in 2009, to carry over her endurance level from Colorado Springs, at 6,035 feet, to London, essentially at sea level.

If their plan comes to fruition, Haskins-Kortuem could be as much as 45 seconds quicker during a 10-kilometer run that follows a 1,500-meter swim and a 40-kilometer bike at the Olympic qualifier. That’s a “significant chunk,” said Haskins-Kortuem, who is strongest in the swim. “That’s kind of the goal I’m aiming for – to take my run to that next level.”

Read more: Colorado Springs Gazette

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