NCAA Triathlon Varsity sport for women!

22 Oct

NCAA Triathlon a female emerging sport!

A few years ago, the governing body of Triathlon, USA Triathlon took it upon themselves to talk with colleges and bring Triathlon to the NCAA level as a sport for females. This has been such an exciting thing and an amazing opportunity for young women.

Triathlon has been at the club level and still is at almost every school around the country for men and women. But at club level it means the athlete still pays for everything and it’s more of just a fun sport with friendly competition and a very competitive National Championship race every spring.
As a Varsity sport at the NCAA level it means the schools have hired top notch coaching staffs, have invested money into gear like bike trainers, bike boxes for shipping bikes, clothing and race kits and so on. As a Varsity sport it also means the school now pays for the athletes travel to the races, the athlete gets access to the schools athletic training staffs and treated like any other Varsity sport athlete at the school. And depending on if the student-athlete chooses a division 1 or 2 school there is athletic scholarship money for them. At the division 3 level there is no athletic scholarships.
For the schools with Triathlon as a Varsity sport at the NCAA level they do invite athletes to come on “Official” visits and can cover some of the athletes travel expenses. There are rules to this like an athlete can’t be on campus longer than 48 hours. Not all athlete’s get offered things like this but if you’re a top recruit and the school wants you; they will do what they can to get you to come visit.
My daughter Bella is a top recruit in Triathlon coming out of the class of 2020 (she is currently high school senior) right now. So, the past 7-8 months she has been contacted by several coaches, taken a lot of “Official” and “Unofficial” visits of schools and stays in touch on a regular basis with all of these coaches as she tries to decide what school she will go to. It’s been a very exciting, stressful and long process. What NCAA Triathlon has done has really opened Bella’s eyes to some new schools, new programs and places that were not even on her radar until the coaches contacted her. This has been a very positive thing and allowed her to really study and explore some great options and meet a lot of different coaches, learn about their coaching styles and facilities and even meet some of the girls on the current team. It’s also helped Bella research more majors and academic things that each school offers which has helped her focus more on what she really wants in a school and for academics. The hardest part of all of this has been finding the school with the right mix of academic and athletic.
Bella has gotten offers from Division 1 schools, Division 2 schools and Division 3 schools. Now as a football player or something everyone thinks go Division 1 bigger school, more perks etc… and some truth to that, however for Bella she is not focused on the size of the school and what division she will compete in at the NCAA level. But rather she is focused on finding the school that has an academic program she is really interested in, and an athletic program she really likes with a great coach and team she meshes with. This is where I really respect my daughter and am sometimes surprised. She is a really smart kid, with excellent test scores and grades and she cares about academics. If this was me, I would be all about the athletic piece and just find some easy classes to take and focus on my sport. This is what a kid needs to think about as they go through this process of doing an NCAA sport. It’s not just the athletic piece but it’s the academic piece and you can’t have blinders on thinking bigger is better, because as I’ve gone through this process with Bella I have learned a lot and really opened my mind to how wonderful many of these smaller schools are and how great their academic programs are and how much that matters at the end of the day. Trust me Bella wants a great coach and program to one day set herself up for chasing a Pro-Triathlon career or maybe Olympics? Who knows? But she also wants to set herself up for life after Triathlon with a degree in something she is passionate about and can have a quality career in.
What if I have never competed in Triathlon? That is OK! Many NCAA coaches are our recruiting and looking for high school swimmers, and cross-country runners with maybe little to zero Triathlon experience. The coaches are excited to teach girls the sport of Triathlon. Sure, for Bella she has been a focused recruit for so many colleges because she has been racing Triathlon since she was 8 years old and is one of the nations top ranked athletes and is the #1 junior female triathlete in the state of Minnesota currently. So, it’s been easy for coaches to find her, but the girls who don’t race Triathlon currently but yet swim or run for their high-school those are the harder ones for coaches to find. This is why with the help of USA Triathlon and people like myself around the country we have been promoting and hosting “combines” for female athletes. It’s part seminar and education on the sport of Triathlon and part time trial in the pool, and on the track for running. The goal is getting times from girls in 100-yard freestyle swim, and the 1-mile run collect their info and input it into a database for college coaches to look at and then contact the athlete. The sport of Triathlon can really open up some great opportunities for these young women!
I’m a passionate athlete and coach of Triathlon, and father of a very talented daughter competing in Triathlon. The sport brings us so much joy and is a way of life for us. I thank USA Triathlon for all they do to support this sport and help it grow and I thank all the colleges that have taken on Triathlon as an NCAA sport to help gives these young ladies a great option in college to compete for their schools!
The next couple weeks or months will be a very crazy time for my daughter Bella as National signing day is coming November 13th and Bella is talking to coaches, and waiting on all the official offers daily. She has a lot of great options all over the place and we have learned a lot during this process and I would be happy to share what I’ve learned and help other young women go through this process and learn about the sport of Triathlon.
No matter what sport you might consider doing at the NCAA level think about these things.
1. Academics… does the school offer a program/major you really are interested in.
2. The coach, do you align with the coach and their style
3. The team and athletes on the team
4. The campus, do you like the size of the school the campus, the location all these things.
5. Financial, does the school offer scholarship money, how much? The cost of the school makes sure it all makes sense because schools are very expensive.
NCAA National Championships for Triathlon are coming up November 16th in Tempe, AZ
That will be the end of the “Championship” season it’s a fall sport at NCAA level but then the team can still train over the winter and do one race in the spring. So, they stay together throughout the year. Best of luck to all the student-athletes and schools next month!

Cheers
Coach MB

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