World Triathlon Podcast #85 - Cathia Schar
Switzerland’s Cathia Schar stepped up in style in 2023, moving up in the world after her WTCS debut in the 2022 super-sprint of Montreal to score a top 10 in the format in Hamburg this year as well as helping take the Swiss team all the to Mixed Relay World Championship bronze.
Far from a super-short distance specialist, however, Schar also has a growing reputation as a bike-handling heavyweight, making light work of the Olympic distance challenges in Bermuda and Karlovy Vary, before more recently scoring European Championship bronze and then following her 4th place in the U23 World Championships in Pontevedra with a brilliant first World Cup podium in Rome in October.
A new training squad, a new mental toughness and the same love for life on and off the blue carpet could make for an even bigger 2024 for the 22-year-old guest on the latest edition of the World Triathlon Podcast. Listen on Spotify, Apple and Google.
Growing up in the small Swiss town of Mezieres, north of Lausanne, as the youngest of three siblings, Schar swam and ran from an early age, challenging herself to keep pace with her older brother and sister. Ever since then she has had the desire to compete and get better, which can make the off-season a tricky time.
“I’ve been back for three weeks training. After the first week off-season I was already missing it. I get bored, so it’s good to find the rhythm and plan around training. It’s more important to have little breaks during the season for me. I’m the kind of person who likes to party and celebrate when good things happen, and I feel I was able to do that (after Rome).”
A level-headed preparation for Paris and focus on the Olympic-distance challenge of WTCS Cagliari is what now lies ahead. Sitting 33rd in the Olympic rankings at the end of the year and second in the Swiss team behind Julie Derron, having staked a strong claim on the Mixed Relay team, Schar looks like the natural choice to make her Olympic debut at Paris 2024.
“At the beginning of 2023 I did have high expectations for the year, but I have surprised myself and can really see myself on that start line. I really felt the pressure in that Hamburg relay, it was all down to me in the end, and it was super hard but I was so happy how I handled that.”
After two Junior World Championships in Gold Coast 2018 and Lausanne 2019, the Covid period saw Schar take a break from training before the offer of an army place and the funding help that came with it opened Schar’s eyes to the professional side of the sport and where she could go with it.
“It was a big opportunity for me and the right time for me to leave home and Mezieres and get to know what it was like to live as a professional athlete. If I didn’t do it then, I wouldn’t be here now. I’m the sort of person who wants to do everything, I can’t say no, and I needed the structure.”
You can listen to the full episode below or wherever you get your podcasts.
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