PELLA, Iowa – Central College has become the second school in the state of Iowa to offer Women’s Triathlon as a varsity sport.
Central was awarded the USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sports Grant for $50,000 to start the program for its first three years.
Central College Athletics Director Eric Van Kley said the sport will be both an individual and a team effort.
“You would have your score of your time, but then a culmination of those is what’s going to add up to what your team score is. It is very similar to golf in that you are out there by yourself, competing by yourself obviously in the three different events and then there is a total score based on how each young lady places in the event,” Van Kley said.
Van Kley said the scoring will be similar to cross country meets, by adding together the place finishes with low score winning.
A Triathlon consists of a 750-meter open water swim, a draft-legal 20-kilometer bike ride, and a five-kilometer run.
The student-athletes will use their natural surroundings like the Red Rock Lake, and nearby bike trails to train for six weeks leading up to a competition.
Van Kley said the team plans to travel around the Midwest and compete in two to three competitions each year.
Central College Senior Aanna Roslin said she is excited to try something new.
“I’ve been growing up in athletics forever and I have always done the typical volleyball, basketball, track but doing a triathlon is something I have always wanted to do but I’ve never really known how to start it myself. I think having something like this and having other people with me it just kind of boosted my energy and I am super excited for it,” Roslin said.
Van Kley said there will be no cuts to the team. Around 12 members will compete during each competition.
“We really are seeking any young ladies that just want to try a new challenge. If they are a current student-athlete in a program we can work with them, but we would love to get non-student athletes that aren’t involved with a team to try a new challenge that they maybe have never done before,” Van Kley said.
In its first year, the sport will be considered a club, and in 2020 it will officially be a varsity sport.
The Athletics Department will be using social media and meetings to get the message out for people who are interested. Van Kley hopes to participate in its first competition later this spring.
Coe College also offers Women’s Triathlon as a varsity sport. There are 31 schools across that country that offer the sport.