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Congratulations, Phil!

Following is an article appearing in the Erie Times News today....

Erie's Phil Friedman is beginning to make a habit out of this national-championship thing.

The Erie lawyer claimed his third national triathlon title Sunday at the USA Triathlon Sprint Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee.

Friedman, 60, topped a field of 50 competitors in the 60-64 age division by finishing in a time of 1 hour, 8 minutes, 43 seconds. He also won the grand masters title for all competitors age 60 and over.

A triathlon sprint course consists of a 750-meter swim, followed by a 20-kilometer bike ride and 5K run.

"It was really exciting," Friedman said. "It was a very close, competitive race. I was just happy to come out ahead."

He was joined in Milwaukee by fellow Erie Triathlon Club members Jeffrey Blake and Andrew Nowak. Blake, 66, placed fifth among 39 athletes in the 65-69 division with a time of 1:16:16. Nowak, 27, finished in 1:09:25 to place 20th among 59 competitors in the 25-29 division.

All three triathletes claimed spots on Team USA and have qualified for the World Sprint Championship in Edmonton, Canada, in September 2014.

However, Friedman's winning effort stood out Sunday. He previously won 55-59 age group national titles in 2008 and 2011 and placed second in 2009.

Under nearly perfect conditions -- "It was a great course, and the weather was absolutely perfect," he said -- Friedman took an early lead with a strong swim of 11 minutes, 48 seconds. Four competitors then passed him during the cycling segment, which Friedman finished in 33:20.

Then came a crucial moment.

"During the transition, I passed three more up," said Friedman, who trailed only one man when he started the run.

Friedman passed his rival about a half-mile into the 5K.

"After that, I was just running scared," Friedman said with a laugh. "I was afraid he was going to catch me."

Friedman finished the 5K with a solid time of 19:56.54. That was good for a 30-second overall win over runner-up Michael Orendorff of Pueblo, Colo. No other competitor in the 60-64 division finished within 2 minutes of Friedman.

"This was one of the most competitive races," he said. "Every year they seem to gain in the number of people doing them."

Friedman participated in his first triathlon in 2001 and has competed in seven this year, including one of Olympic distance (1,500-meter swim, 40K bike, 10K run).

He will join Blake in September when they compete in the 2013 World Sprint Championships in London.

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