A record field of 96 student-athletes from 18 varsity and four club teams are set to compete this Sunday at the USA Triathlon Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships in Tempe, Arizona. The race will be held at Tempe Town Lake for the second consecutive year, in conjunction with the Ignite the Fork Triathlon hosted by Arizona State University.
Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January of 2014, and the first varsity National Championships were held in the autumn/fall of that year. The sport has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA level. 25 schools currently sponsor varsity women’s triathlon, up from 18 at this time last year.
The National Championships course features a 750m swim, draft-legal 20k bike and 5k run. Due to the field size, the race will be split into two waves for the first time. NCAA Division I and II schools will go off in the first wave at 08:45 MST, while Division III and club teams will race at 10:30 MST.
Awards will be presented to the top two varsity teams in Division I, II and III, and the top two individual varsity athletes in Division I, II and III.
All teams and individual athletes racing this weekend qualified for the Nationals through one of three Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Regional Qualifiers held during the fall season. The Central Regional Qualifier took place on September 16 in Watauga, Tennessee, followed by the West Regional on September 23 in Longmont, Colorado, and the East Regional on October 20 in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.
An age-group draft-legal race will be held on Sunday prior to the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Athletes will cover the same sprint-distance course as the collegiate women, and the first wave is set to go off at 07:00 MST.
Live updates from the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships will be available on Twitter @USATLive, and a race recap and photo gallery will be published at usatriathlon.org.