Triathlon club instills “laid back” experience for members

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(Photo courtesy of Marquette Triathlon Club)

Regardless of what Mother Nature and the Midwest weather might throw their way, the Marquette University Triathlon team practices and trains year-round when it comes to preparing for a competition.

Team president Ashley Tan, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, said people get intimidated when they think or hear of the word triathlon.

“It’s a very laid back experience, we always encourage beginners to come try it out,” Tan said. “I feel like when people hear the word triathlon they get really scared because they think it’s something really intense, but our practices are laid back and are designed to fit any skill level.”

A triathlon is a multi-sport that consists of swimming, cycling and running over varying distances.

Vice president Sydney Mayer, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, said the sport is a way of combining her previous talents and interests in high school and now putting them together on a competitive platform.

“Coming from a swimming background, I swam in high school and I did track as well so I wanted to keep that going and triathlon seemed like a really great sport to combine those interests and also add in some cycling,” Mayer said. 

Clyde Hollister, a senior in the College of Engineering, said swimming has always been a part of his life which lead led him to be part of both the triathlon team and club swimming team.

“I’ve been on the swim team for the past four years but during COVID-19 the pools closed so I had to find another way to find that cardio exercise in,” Hollister said. “So I picked up running and then later biking and then you just throw those three together and you have a sport that already exists.”

Both Mayer and Hollister competed at the 2022 Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships in Lake Lanier, Georgia where they faced off against other college club teams in triathlon events which included running, swimming and cycling.

“It was cool because it was a national event so we got to race with teams from all over the country, which was really neat especially when triathlon is often times for older people and you won’t see as many college athletes participating,” Mayer said.  

Mayer and Hollister finished around the mid-way point across all 1,000 participants. Mayer finished 494 overall out of 892 and Hollister finished 570 overall out of 892.

Mayer said the triathlon team hopes to participate in more events in the near future to help build community and experience with the sport.

“We recently joined the USA Midwest Collegiate Triathlon Conference which makes Marquette registered as a team,” Mayer said. “Hopefully there will be a lot more events coming up next year which will definitely improve the team’s spirit and have something to look forward to.” 

Tan, who has been doing triathlons competitively since he was 10 years old, said the sport and club bring different types of athletes together while providing an opportunity to stay physically and mentally fit.

“All of us have done competitive sports like swimming or track in high school on a really competitive level so learning how to do a sport for fun and to do it while staying physically and mentally fit,” Tan said. “It’s nice to find other people who are interested in the same thing and get a break from school, which I like about the club personally.”

Mayer said one of the traditions that the team has held in the past has been its short sprint triathlon, which was open to students and faculty at Marquette.

“In the past, the team has put together a triathlon that most people are capable of doing, which happened in the fall where you just bring a bike, swimsuit, something to run in and do a triathlon, Mayer said. “Hopefully that is something the team can bring back in the next season.”

Due to COVID-19, Tan said the team spent this season in a rebuild but hopes to build a larger atmosphere and things to do as the club.

“We want to generate excitement about the sport and make sure people feel like they are a part of a team when they participate,” Tan said.

This article was written by Hannah Freireich. She can be reached at hannah.freireich@marquette.edu.