Age Group Nationals is a homecoming for Cleveland native Vant Lammers

By Lindsay Wyskowski | Aug. 09, 2018, 4:19 p.m. (ET)

Vant Lammers AGNC Cleveland

The 2018 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships will hold special meaning for men’s 30-34 competitor Vant Lammers. A native of Cleveland Heights, Lammers will swim, bike and run against the nation’s best in what was once essentially his backyard. 

“I have a lot of pride in Cleveland, in general,” he said, though he has lived in Madison, Wisconsin, for four years. “I still kind of consider Cleveland home. It’s where I grew up, it’s where my family still lives.”

In fact, Lammers’ family lives just 15 minutes from the downtown Cleveland area — a city center gaining popularity again among locals and visitors alike. 

 “That area that we’re going to — Edgewater Park — that’s one of the cool spots to see Lake Erie, and that’s definitely part of our city,” he said. 

Where does this former Clevelander suggest visitors to the city go, when they’re not racing? 

“West Side Market — that’s where I tend to go when I’m back in town and want to go out in Cleveland,” he said. “Lots of cool bars there, lots of breweries. You’d be surprised in Cleveland how many really small, good breweries there are. And really good restaurants, too. There’s a lot going on downtown. That’s coming back, and people should check it out.”

Lammers didn’t compete in triathlon when he was living in the greater Cleveland area, but completed his first race nearly a decade ago while in college at Ohio State University. As a member of the triathlon team there, his love for the sport grew. Since then, Lammers has competed in Age Group Nationals multiple times. 

He finished sixth in his age group and 12th overall in 2017 — covering the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 6 seconds. 

“A lot of it has just been persistence, discipline and sticking with it. More and more I realize you’ve got to do the small things to take that next step, so for the past two years, to some extent, that’s been my motto. Focusing on the small things, if you get them all right, adds up to something big.” 

To hone his skills, Lammers has been training with elite triathlete and coach Patrick Brady in the Madison area, logging about 15 hours each week across the three sport disciplines. He balances his training time with busy work weeks at Epic, a computer software company, where he works as a technical services analyst.

One activity Lammers wishes he had more time for in his full schedule is volunteerism. He participated in a program called Bike & Build in 2011, and again in 2013. The 11-week cross-country cycling trip from Maine to Santa Barbara raises money and awareness for affordable housing. 

“The people you help build houses for are super grateful,” he said. 

In his own community, Lammers has volunteered with an organization called Tri 4 Schools, which enhances school wellness iniatives through swimming, biking and running programs. Still, he would like to become more involved in mentoring the next generation of up-and-coming multisport stars.  

“I think it would be fun to coach younger athletes at some point,” he said. “We’ll see what the future holds.”

As for the immediate future, Lammers is contending for top finishes in a new age group this year. After finding success in the 25-29 age group, he isn’t fazed to age up or face off against new competitors. 

“To me, it’s really no different,” Lammers said. “I think it’s pretty similar as far as competitiveness. I tend to focus on the overall result anyway, so it’ll be a challenge just like it was before.”

Lammers will be testing himself in the Olympic-Distance National Championships on Saturday — potentially with eyes on earning his elite license. Then, he’ll head to Gold Coast, Australia, for the ITU Age Group Standard-Distance World Championships this fall, where he’ll look to improve upon the seventh-place finish he scored at 2016 Worlds in Cozumel, Mexico.