The sport of triathlon has been a godsend for thousands of lifelong competitive swimmers around the world who’ve reached the end of the line upon finishing college and found themselves caught between pool burnout and a desire to remain athletic. Phillip Graeter’s story is fairly typical in this regard, except he’s a lot faster than most. Born and raised in Germany, Phillip swam competitively from age six until he graduated from George Washington University, just missing a spot on the 2008 German Olympic Swim Team in the 400 IM. Then came the dreaded question: Now what?
“I’ve always admired the German triathletes competing in Kona and at the Olympics,” says Phillip, 31, who was recently married and works as a sales consultant in Washington State. “I wanted to continue swimming but did not want to do masters swimming, so triathlon it was!” Initially, Phillip made up his own training schedule, but when he decided to move up to the Ironman distance he chose to figured it was time to find and follow an expert-designed plan, and he wisely chose an 80/20 option.
“I’ve never trained this much for triathlons and without any significant injuries or burn out or overtraining,” Phillip reports of his experience. “My B race was a half back in May, and I beat my Original PB by almost 15 minutes without any taper. I’ve since finished my first full Ironman at Lake Placid 15 minutes under my goal time (and beat all my individual leg time goals along the way) and qualified for the World Championships!”
Hear that, Hanna Hunstad?