It’s pouring rain and pitch black outside, but a group of athletes congregates in the lobby of Dixon Recreation Center on the Oregon State University campus, waiting for 6 a.m. to come and the building to open. The OSU Triathlon Club members pry themselves out of bed and jump into the swimming pool to squeeze in a workout before the day begins. College teams compete in the Olympic-distance triathlon, which consists roughly of a 1-mile swim, a 25-mile bike ride, and a 6-mile run, all done sequentially. While you’ve probably never heard of the OSU Triathlon Club, it’s the largest club sport on campus with more than 40 student members and many alumni and staff members. The club has put together quite an impressive resume in the last year. This comes as no surprise, of course, to the men and women who spend their mornings swimming, evenings running, lunch breaks biking, and their weekends doing all three.
Last May at the Collegiate Championship, hosted by the Wildflower Triathlon Festival in central California, the OSU team gained acclaim by winning the collegiate team division. The team’s success continued with a win in August at the Northwest Regional Championship hosted by the Best in the West Triathlon Festival in Sweet Home, Oregon. With the regional crown, the team qualified for a spot at the Collegiate Nationals, which takes place this spring in Tempe, Arizona. The University of Oregon did not qualify.
Athletic success in today’s volatile and competitive atmosphere is often dictated by the size of a team’s budget, but the OSU Triathlon Club operates the old-fashioned way, getting up before the sun rises, putting in the hours running, biking, and swimming, and with determination, has earned itself an impressive reputation.
by Brendan O’Callaghan