Winning gold in the American Triathlon Cup was a key victory for triathlete Stefan Daniel. Now he has his sights set on the Paralympics in Paris on Sept. 1.

In Miami, he posted the best time of the day at 53:39 in the 750-m swim, 20-km bike and five-km run course.

"That was an important race to really nail down qualification," says Daniel. "I haven't been officially selected yet, but that pretty much secured my selection. Now that I've got a good result there, I can really focus on getting ready purely for the games this year."

StefanStefan Daniel after his win at the American Triathlon Cup in Miami.

Canada’s triathletes racked up seven medals at the Americas Triathlon Cup. All three of Canada’s elite para triathletes found their way onto the podium, winning two golds, and one silver medal.

'I think everybody on the team did super well and everyone's in a really good spot for March. We're not in peak fitness or anything, but I think everyone's pretty stoked to like how we're opening the season in a busy important year."

The seasoned 27-year-old triathlete has been bringing glory to Canada on the world stage for years. He has had eight podium appearances in the World Triathlon Para Championships. He's a five-time world champion and two-time silver medallist, the most recent in in Pontevedra, Spain last September.

READ MORE: SPOTLIGHT: Daniel's 5th world title most meaningful since his first

Daniel made his para triathlon debut at the 2016 Rio Games where he won silver, the first for Canada. He followed it up with a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

In last year's world championship, his long-time rival Martin Schultz, of Germany, got the upper hand. 

"It was a good race. I think I progressed basically throughout the year, but I just couldn't quite hang with Schultz on the run, which is normally usually my strong suit, but that's kind of why this year we're really taking things slowly and trying to get my run back to where it was a few years ago."

"The last few seasons I've kind of struggled with shin splints a little bit, so we're building my run very slowly and slowly progressing mileage and intensity."

In recent years, he has been competing in half Ironman triathlons but has set that aside for the time being.

"We just want to be fit and healthy for Paris. We'll come back to that next year."

He was recently in Victoria, B.C. and now in Flagstaff, AZ for some high elevation training. Flagstaff sits at an elevation of 6,909 ft. (2,106 m).

Stefan 4

"At a higher elevation, your body produces more red blood cells, so basically when you drop down to sea level, your body is able to handle much more aerobic capacity, and so you just get like a boost," he explains.

Daniel did a test race in Paris last year in preparation for the Paralympics.

"It's pretty cool. You can see the Eiffel Tower in the background, so it is truly right in the heart of Paris. I think it's going to be a pretty, pretty cool venue. And I think they're going to do quite a quite a good job."

Until then, he does have a few races on his world series schedule, including Yokohama, Jaspan, Swansea, Wales and Montreal, QC.

"That takes us to end of June, and from there on, it's pretty much just training for Paris. Maybe I'll throw in like a little local race somewhere, but no more world series events after that."

Daniel went to St. Timothy Jr./Sr. High School before moving on to a specialized sports school. He was introduced to competitive swimming by the Cochrane Comets Swim Club. He has just completed his degree at the University of Calgary and was a key member of their cross-country team.