Sergeant Marc Prud’homme is one of the best triathletes in Canada, particularly in the Canadian Armed Forces. He manages to balance his athletic achievements with his responsibilities with his unit. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

Champion swimmer making waves as gifted triathlete

Community News

By: Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, June 9, 2016

Many personnel serving at Garrison Petawawa are incredible athletes as well as dedicated soldiers, and Sergeant Marc Prud’homme is no exception.

The 33-year-old member of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR) has distinguished himself through his talent and hard work, surmounting the challenges of being an athlete as well as an infantryman.

Though triathlon is his sport of choice, he recently made some waves at both the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) National Swimming Championship and the Ontario Master Swimming Championship, where he managed to continuously earn gold. This despite the fact that he had been sidetracked by illness, work obligations, training exercises, late arrivals and even later nights. “I’m happy because I had a good time,” said Sgt Prud’homme. “Even if I was tired, I’m a soldier..., so I just put it out of my mind, and soldiered on.” He is by all accounts an exceptional swimmer, but now prefers to apply his athletic talents to triathlon. He finds that there are more challenges in the three-tiered race, and it gives him more time to enjoy the process of racing.

“Sitting on a pool deck at 80 per cent humidity, and hearing people whistling super loud and screaming, it’s just like white noise for a weekend,” said Sgt Prud’homme. “I don’t find that interesting anymore.” That doesn’t mean that he has completely forgone the aquatic world. He knows he will have to compete in at least one swimming challenge per year to qualify for the CAF swimming championships. It is also not uncommon to spot him at the Dundonald Hall swimming pool, working out at lunch or in his free time. “I used to love the (swim) racing, but now I like the preparations more,” said the Sergeant.

His innate swimming talent and the dedication he has given to the sport over the years does give him an advantage in triathlon. He often finishes the water part of it long before his opponents.

To further refine their skills, he and his fellow triathlon teammates were sent to Florida for a training camp earlier this year. Unlike previous years, they decided to push themselves to the limit, seeing how hard they can race. They had planned to train for 25 hours, but did 37. They also each did almost 1,000 kilometres on a bicycle, 60 to 80 kilometres on foot and swam well over 15 kilometres.

The week culminated in a testing race. Exhausted and sore, none of the teammates thought they would get a good timing. They were wrong. “We were all very surprised,” admitted Sgt Prud’homme. “I ended up doing way better than I expected, but even compared to my overall finish. Last year, I finished 10th in that same race. This year, I finished 7th... I beat two guys that I never beat before.”

He credits his success to the refinement of his technique as well as his focused commitment to his workouts. He also has to train while exhausted most of the time because of his long hours at work. “So when I race tired, it doesn’t really affect me as much,” said Sgt Prud’homme.

Since being posted to Petawawa last year, he has spent countless days in the field, on a different base or on taskings. To accommodate his busy schedule, he now starts his day at 4 a.m. He admits it can be difficult to crawl out of a warm bed to do so, but knows that the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

“I have a purpose and I just refuse to give away those times,” said the Sergeant. “I used to think that I needed my sleep or I was just not going to perform. Now I just drink more coffee.”