The USA Triathlon Collegiate Club and High School National Championships are set to return to Tempe, Arizona, from April 5-6 for the first time since 2014. The event typically draws approximately 1,400 collegiate club and high school athletes.
A city rich with triathlon history, Tempe hosted Collegiate Club Nationals in 2013 and 2014, the USA Paratriathlon National Championships in 2014, and the varsity Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships in 2017 and 2018. The city has also hosted multiple ITU Pan American Cup events, the Major League Triathlon series, non-drafting triathlons such as IRONMAN Arizona and many other local races.
The two-day collegiate event kicks off at 08:15 MST on Friday, April 5, with the seventh annual USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships. Up to 75 men and 75 women who qualified for spots through their respective collegiate club teams and USA Triathlon’s 10 collegiate conferences will be on the start list. Athletes will cover a 750m swim, 21km bike and 5.1km run. The fast-paced draft-legal format is similar to that which is contested at the Olympic Games and elite International Triathlon Union (ITU) races.
On Friday afternoon starting at midday, up-and-coming young athletes will toe the line in the fourth running of the USA Triathlon High School National Championships. The event will be in a non-drafting format, covering the same distance as the collegiate draft-legal race. The USA Triathlon High School Program, which features state championships in addition to Nationals, is designed to expand opportunities in the sport for athletes aged 13-19 and grow triathlon clubs at the high school level. The high school awards ceremony will take place at the finish line following the races at 15:15.
The action continues on Sunday, April 6, with the entire field of collegiate triathletes competing in the Olympic-distance Collegiate Club National Championships. The course covers a 1,500m swim, 41km bike and 10km run. The first wave of men will start at 07:30, and the first women’s wave is set for 10:20. This race will also feature a paratriathlon open wave going off at 09:30, which follows a sprint-distance course.
Qualified athletes may compete in both the draft-legal and Olympic-distance collegiate events.
The eighth annual Mixed Team Relay event will also be contested on April 5, with up to 55 relay teams set to compete. The relay will start at 16:15. Teams are comprised of four athletes (two women and two men), with each athlete covering a 250m swim, 5km bike and 1km run before tagging off to the next teammate. Triathlon mixed relays are growing in popularity worldwide, as the International Olympic Committee announced that the discipline would be added to the program of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Concluding the weekend is the collegiate awards ceremony, set for 20:00 on Saturday at the Tempe Marketplace District Stage. The awards ceremony will honour the top individual finishers in each race and reveal the men’s, women’s and overall team standings.
Results from the draft-legal sprint race and the Olympic-distance race will factor into the men’s, women’s and overall team scores. The Mixed Team Relay will also count toward the overall team score, though it will not affect the men’s or women’s team scores.
The U.S. Naval Academy took the overall title in 2018, breaking the University of Colorado’s historic eight-year winning streak. Navy also earned the men’s team victory, while the University of California at Berkeley earned the women’s title. Individual champions included Cal Berkeley’s Hannah Koski and Navy’s Daniel Lloyd in the draft-legal race, and Navy’s Stephanie Murphy and UC Santa Barbara’s Sean Harrington in the Olympic-distance race. Ryan Porteus of UC Santa Barbara won the paratriathlon open division, and Queens University of Charlotte raced to the Mixed Team Relay title.