World ranked father-daughter triathletes live and train in Chanhassen

A father-daughter duo from Chanhassen had the opportunity of a lifetime to compete together on team USA at the world triathlon championships in Australia.

Their 16-year-old daughter is a swimmer at Minnetonka high school and the family is hoping to get more young women interested in competing in triathlons.

It’s not a sport that's offered here at Minnetonka High School or hardly anywhere at the high school level, Bella Buenting is hoping to change that as she and her dad set out to compete all over the world.

As Minnetonka High School’s Head Swim Coach, Coach Mike Buenting works his team through a series of drills for the second practice of the day. Bella keeps right on pace swimming the butterfly.

Bella's been swimming competitively since she was 8 years old.

Her parents are runners, so seeking out marathons and then eventually competing in triathlons has become a family hobby.

“It’s kind of our family way of life,” she said.  

Bella's passion for triathlons started after spending so much time exercising with her family, even on vacations, but this year they had their sights set on a world championship in Australia.

The two became the first father-daughter pair from Minnesota to represent team USA down under.

“I was able to train with my dad this entire time leading up to the race and then having him there along with my mom supporting me and I loved having them there,” Bella said.

The Buentings say it was an unbelievable experience in Australia and to compete with athletes from all over the world.

Dad did well but Bella blew him out of the water.

“She swims faster than me,” Mike said. “She placed higher than me in her division and overall had better results than dad, yes.”

Bella says she's inspired by how many more females are competing in triathlons and she hopes to one day represent her country on the Olympic stage.

“I would love to for sure compete in college and the Olympics is a great goal and I would love to do that,” Bella said of her aspirations.

Bella finished 25th in the world and Mike finished 37th, but they say regardless how they placed, their experience was priceless.