Kaleb Muller had an impressive haul of medals competing in the 200-metre, 400-metre, 1,500-metre and 3,000-metre events to go along with a relay among 14 year olds.
Muller finished second overall in point totals along with taking four silver medals.
“For the shorter distances you just want to get in the front and go as fast as you can,” said Kaleb, of his strategy at the speed skating championship at Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge over the weekend.
“For the longer distances you want to stay back a bit and once you get near the end of the race, you make your move.”
Several variables can work against a skater if they are constantly trying to keep the lead in longer distances.
A skater’s own positioning can be used against them, according to the Muller brothers.
“If you go in the front, you are going to get drafted and whoever has the most energy at the end usually wins.“
“That’s usually the person who drafts,” said Kaleb.
He explained the concept of drafting the speed skater in front to lessen wind resistance by staying in the their slipstream.
“You want to stay more on the outside of them because it still gives you a draft and a safer passing lane.”
“When you draft, you save 10 per cent of your energy from, so it’s to your advantage,” added Mason.
Kaleb Muller continued to race neck-and-neck with his main rival in Marco Schumann out of Saskatchewan where Kaleb came oh so close with four-tenths of a second in the 200-metre, nearly three-tenths of a second in the 1500-metre out of a gold-medal finish.
“I was pleased with the results. I passed him a couple of times. It’s pretty close between us now. It’s usually whoever has the best strategy wins,” said Kaleb. “It’s gone back and forth before, but he usually comes out on top.”
Twelve-year-old Mason finished eight overall out of 12 skaters, impressive in the fact he did not have all the races to accumulate points due to suffering a broken wrist part way through.
“I made it to the gold-medal race for the 1,500 and I kind of fell where my wrist went into the wall funny,” said Muller sporting his cast during a Monday afternoon interview with The Times. “I didn’t finish the race, I went on the inside because it hurt, but once I got off it was OK, it didn’t hurt so much so I continued racing.
Mason Muller gutted out three more races, making it to another gold-medal race where he once again fell where the doctor at the event suggested Mason go to seek medical examination.
“It didn’t rally affect it (his racing). When you are in the middle of a race and there is so much adrenaline and stuff, you don’t feel it. I didn’t feel it when I was racing,” said Mason. “If it was my leg, I’d for sure be feeling it.”
Mason ws still able to clock the fast time in his age division for the 1,500-metre event in a qualifying heat to go along with a personal-best time in his 400-metre event, clocking in at 41.796 seconds in his semifinal. Kaleb was also able to record some personal best times with 20.125 seconds in the 200-metre and 38.321 seconds in the 400-metre during the semifinals.
“It’s always nice to beat your own time,” said Kaleb who has now been speed skating for seven years, getting bitten by the bug for the sport watching it in the Winter Olympics in 2006 as younger brother Mason following suit when the now Grade 8 student started when he was in Grade 2.