Swim! Bike! Run!
Newman University is excited to welcome 12 new members to its triathlon team. The first team put together in 2016-2017 had four students. Now, incoming freshmen are looking at Newman University to join a triathlon team.
While many variations of the sport exist, a triathlon, in its most popular form, involves swimming, cycling and running in immediate succession over various distances.
Head Triathlon Coach Jeff Lovgren explained, "This is one of those things that’s a very unique event. No one else in the state of Kansas has a collegiate triathlon team."
Lovgren continued, "Last year, we had our very first competition only a month after we started and none of them had done a triathlon before. So it was just about teaching them the different skill sets they needed to be prepared for that very first race. Now that we’ve gone through one complete season, they know what to expect. Some of that fear is out of it and we can actually start improving on abilities throughout the sport as opposed to just learning how to do it.
"So for those who are coming in, I’m looking to those who are returning to help with that, too. They know what it feels like, they’ve been in those shoes before and I’m looking forward to them helping to guide the new ones coming in and get them prepped and ready to go as well."
Even though it is only the second year Newman University has had a triathlon team, there are high expectations for each team member.
"The goal for this year is to compete in nationals again," said Assistant Triathlon Coach Heidi Coble, "and to have all of our athletes compete in nationals. Last year, we had one who wasn’t able to compete, so this year it would be awesome if we could take the whole team down to University of Alabama and compete in our nationals."
When recruiting potential athletes, Coble and Lovgren take a current athlete along so that recruits can relate to them.
"We continue to grow," Coble said. "We continue to get recognition within our community and within the region. We continue to see the program grow and grow and get more traction in Wichita."
One of the new members of the triathlon team, freshman Mac Foley has been participating in triathlons since sixth grade.
"I’ve been staying away from the community and coaching myself because it’s really easy to get burnt out at a young age," he said. "So in middle school I did just triathlons and then in high school I got recruited to be part of the cross country team and the swimming team, so I would just do triathlons in the summer in high school."
Foley decided to coach himself because "I wanted to be proud of my own accomplishments and my own training practices, so I wanted my own coaching to be something I was proud of for myself."
The Jets Triathlon team will compete in the Midwest Championships against Iowa State Triathlon Club on Sunday, Sept. 24, in Bondurant, Iowa.