NCAA Women’s Triathlon by Jon Metz
In January 2014, the NCAA overwhelmingly approved triathlon as the next emerging sport for women for all three NCAA Divisions. As an emerging sport for women, triathlon embarks on the journey to become a full-fledged NCAA championship sport. As an emerging NCAA sport, women’s triathlon has all the rights and privileges of being an NCAA-sanctioned sport. This allows female triathletes the opportunity to be official NCAA student-athletes and participate in competitive draft-legal racing. The sport has 10 years to have 40 schools offer women’s triathlon as a varsity sport to earn a permanent place in the NCAA.
In my opinion draft legal racing is more exciting than a typical sprint triathlon (750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5K run) for both athletes and spectators. Drafting on the bike creates intimate and team strategy that you won’t find in the traditional triathlon format. In addition, the multiple lap bike and sometimes run format creates a lot of viewing opportunities for spectators. Differences between draft legal and traditional triathlon racing go beyond the ability to draft on the bike and multiple loop courses. Draft legal racing also offers very competitive swims; penalties served on the course instead of time deductions after the athlete has finished; and fast runs that often include a sprint to the finish line.
Currently there are 13 colleges and universities that offer triathlon as an NCAA Varsity Sport for Women. Many postsecondary institutions offer triathlon as a club sport. However, these schools cannot offer athletic scholarships for participation in a club sport.
Daemen College, Western New York’s only Division II school, was one of the first schools in the country to offer women’s triathlon as a varsity sport fielding the college’s first team in the fall of 2015. Recruiting has been the biggest challenge to this point. I have had the opportunity to meet many incredible local, national, and international athletes in the process of ascertaining if they would be a good fit academically and athletically for the college and the women’s triathlon team. I also talk to a lot of high school swimmers and runners who are looking for a new challenge or opportunity in the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Olympic movement.These athletes may be in the perfect position to become a top collegiate triathlete. I am also in the process of developing local young talent in an effort to introduce the sport of triathlon a younger generation of athletes.
You can learn more about the Daemen College women’s triathlon program at ncaatriathlon.com or feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.