She was just 14 years old when Jason Jablonski discovered the Wenatchee native at the local swim club team. Jablonski knew her parents and took on the role of trainer when they asked him to train their daughter. At age 17, she decided to pursue her sport with Jablonski as her endurance coach. He would prepare her to take on the world.
Meet Abbi Milner, a 19-year-old Western sophomore who enjoys sports, the outdoors and most importantly crushing the competition at world-class-level triathlons.
This past summer Milner scraped the surface of her potential as a triathlete. She qualified at the national competition for the 2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Chicago that took place on Sept. 19 of this year. She finished 14th overall in her age group, 20-24-year-old females.
“I started swimming when I was in middle school, and that was my main sport all through high school and then I did my first triathlon when I was 16, but kind of just for fun,” Milner said.
It wasn’t until she was about almost finished with high school that Milner and he were paired up for good and began training with full intensity to compete in triathlons, Jablonski said.
Going into her junior year of high school, Milner did a couple of local triathlons that summer. In the summer of 2014, she started working with Jablonski, training every day and fine-tuning her skills for the bigger stage, she said.
In the summer of 2014 Milner qualified for the national competition, where she competed against some of the best athletes in the country.
“She was doing really well with local stuff and the regional stuff she was doing extremely well, and then she qualified for nationals,” Jablonski said. “She went into nationals and saw how hard it was, it was kind of an eye opener for her.”
Jablonski points to a more relaxed approach as a potential reason for Milner’s success.
“She had done nationals about a month before that and we were not anticipating her doing worlds,” Jablonski said. “But she got the qualification for worlds and basically we had kind of wrote off training — you need a break after a big race — we just went into worlds with the idea of gaining experience.”
Fresh off her big win at the World Triathlon Grand Final Chicago, Milner hasn’t slowed down at all. This fall, she walked onto Western’s cross -country team in hopes of improving her running ability, seeing that swimming is second nature to her and her cycling has drastically improved over the past few years.
Once the cross-country season is over, Jablonski will have her on more of a specific workout plan geared toward her next big race that takes place next summer, the Cozumel ITU Triathlon World Cup in Cozumel, Mexico. Milner stays in triathlon shape year round, swimming about two times per week, running three times a week, biking two-to-three times per week, along with some interval workouts and a longer bike ride on the weekends, she said.
Milner has already assembled an impressive athletic resume by the age of 19. Her coach and many other supporters know she is capable of making a career out of this sport in the near future.
“She’s going to be racing on the international stage in the next few years,” Jablonski said.