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Eric and Sophia Kottke ready for Life Time Tri CapTex

Pam LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This article was originally published May 22, 2014

A father-daughter duo will be among more than 3,000 athletes who line up at the start line of Monday’s Life Time Tri CapTex in downtown Austin.

Eric Kottke, 43, and his daughter Sophia, 12, share a love of the sport and have been tackling triathlons together since Sophia was 5, according to a press release from Life Time Fitness. Monday’s race will mark their longest so far - an Olympic distance triathlon with a .93-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike and 6.2-mile run.

To prepare, they’ve been training - and spending quality time - together. Eric Kottke tries not to push Sophia too hard, but says it’s a delicate balance.

“I do my best to balance the training schedule with the importance of building our father-daughter relationship. At times, it can be an exercise in extreme patience,” he says. “I believe it helps build her self-confidence, character, physical and mental health.”

Eric Kottke plans to do a half Ironman triathlon later this year and, maybe, an Ironman next year. Sophia plans on training with Des Ficker’s Fit Fickers this summer and possibly competing in the Youth and Junior National Triathlon Championships in Ohio.

“By the time I’m in my 20s, I’d like to be able to go to the Olympics,” she says.

They’ve got another plan, too. Together, they’d like to complete an Olympic-distance triathlon on each continent as a father-daughter team to benefit charity.

For more information about Monday’s triathlon, go to