Adam Keenan has learned how nice it feels when a plan comes together.
Keenan, a hammer thrower originally from Victoria, has been living in Kamloops for about 13 months after moving here to train at the National Throws Centre under head coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk.
The idea was to become a world-class thrower, and it has worked out brilliantly.
Keenan, who turns 19 on Wednesday, set a meet record in winning gold at the Canadian junior championships in Winnipeg in July. He also competed at the junior world championships in Barcelona in July, and has been throwing the hammer farther than ever.
On Saturday, at the end of his first full season in town, Keenan set the Canadian junior hammer throw record at the Kamloops ThrowsFest Clinic at Hillside Stadium.
During an interview in May, Keenan said one of his goals for the season was to set the record. On Sunday, he was wearing a big smile.
“I’m definitely not unhappy about it,” Keenan said, with a laugh.
Even Saturday’s competition was part of a plan for Keenan.
Because he no longer will be a junior athlete as of Dec. 31, Keenan and Bondarchuk decided to go all-in at ThrowsFest.
“Dr. B and I set up a peaking program so I could be in peak condition specifically for this,” Keenan said. “It was my last meet as a junior and I was trying to break the record.”
Keenan hit 74.11 metres, which was two centimetres longer than Jim Steacy of Lethbridge hit in June 2003. Steacy, now 28, has competed at the past two Olympics.
“Coming into it, I felt the record was pretty far,” Keenan said. “I still had some misgivings about it, but I went after it and got it. I was pretty happy about it . . . I was a little lucky.”
Lucky or not, it appears as though Keenan has a nice future in front of him.
As of Jan. 1, he will be a senior athlete, competing alongside the likes of Steacy and Kamloops teammate Kibwé Johnson, an American who competed at the Olympics in London.
There certainly will be some changes in moving up a level — for one, Keenan will be throwing with a heavier hammer. The junior hammer weighs six kilograms; the senior hammer is 7.26 kilograms.
“The training will differ a bit because I’m moving up in weights,” Keenan said. “We’ll probably train a bit heavier — instead of training with the eight-kilogram (hammer), I’ll train with the nine as well to try to get a bit stronger.
“I’m still too small to throw the seven, so I’ll have to bulk up a bit.”
That means spending a lot of time in the weight room, working on his “special strength.”
“My lifting, cleans and snatches aren’t going to be too much heavier, but my special strength will be stronger,” Keenan said. “That makes the seven (kilogram hammer) feel lighter, even though I’m not lifting too much more.
“That’s Dr. B’s philosophy, getting the hammer to feel lighter without losing speed.”