Today, Tar Heel Tone Up is featuring Mollie Brewer, Co-VP of the Triathlon Club. This student is a highly ranked triathlon member on a very successful club team here at UNC. Keep reading for highlights of the Triathlon Club and one of their most competitive members.
1. What made you decide to do triathlon club?
I raced a couple of triathlons while in high school and developed a passion that followed me to college. When I got to UNC, a big new school in which I knew very few people, I gravitated towards something I was familiar with. In doing so, I met my coach (who now officially coaches our entire team) and made awesome friends in the triathlon club.
2. What is your favorite thing about this sport?
I love everything. The bike is my favorite part because I like to go so fast that I feel like I’m flying. I love the people and my coach – everyone is suffering and overcoming their own obstacles in order to finish the race or a training session. It is a shared suffering that creates a deep bond between us athletes. And, I love racing for UNC. We’ve traveled all over the state and country to race and nothing puts a smile on my face like when I hear “Go Tar Heels” when I am suffering through the last few miles of the race. It helps me dig a little deeper.
3. What does a typical practice look like for your team?
Technically we are training for three sports at one time: swimming, biking and running. So that is a lot to fit into one week. A lot of us train individually or in partners for most of the week based on our class schedule. However, as a team, we try to practice at least four times a week all together.
Tuesdays are our “favorite” days. Our coach hosts a swim and a run practice. Our swim is in the morning and we do anywhere from 3500-4500 yards. This includes swim drills, intervals and triathlon specific swim sets. An example of a triathlon specific swim set would be to have us each individually swim 100 yards as fast as we can while everyone else stands along the lane and splashes/hits us with kickboards. This simulates what it is like at the beginning of the triathlon. It is actually a lot of fun – just like a splash war you used to have as a kid. In the evening we have a run workout on the track. We call this swim/run day “Get Better Tuesday” because it really pushes us but ultimately makes us better. Having teammates push and encourage you through the intervals makes it all worth it. Then we eat…A LOT.
4. Tell us about some of your team’s accomplishments.
A core group of us have been to Triathlon Collegiate Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for two years and we trying to qualify again this year. Last spring our team participated in the first Draft Legal Collegiate Triathlon ever held in the USA. Draft Legal racing is more of a European style of racing. If you watched the Olympic triathlon, it is the format they race. We made history that day.
5. What kind of teams do you go against?
In our conference we travel all over N.C., Va. and Md. in order to race. We race teams like Duke, NC State, UNCW, Navy, VT, UVA, and Liberty. For Nationals we compete with hundreds of college teams all over the country.
6. What is your most memorable moment as a triathlete?
Last spring, when the team went to Lake Lure for the first Draft Legal Collegiate race, I came out of the swim last in the women’s race. The head official told me that when I got lapped on the bike, they were going to pull me from the race (it was a short, multi-loop bike course). I surprised everyone, especially the official, because I never got lapped. I ended up setting the bike course record and finished in third place, 45 seconds behind first and second place.
7. What’s your favorite thing about being a member of this team?
I love the support and the training partners I get as being a member of the team. Sometimes logging all the countless miles on the bike rides, runs and laps in the pool get tedious but the training partners I have on the team keep me going. We push each other, compete against each other, encourage each other, support each other after bad races, cheer wildly for each other on good race days and understand each other even if the whole world may look at us, shake their heads and call us crazy.
8. What else are you involved in on campus?
In addition to triathlon, I am also a member of the UNC cycling team. I love it too and I recommend doing both! It is another excuse for me to ride my bike! Plus cycling really helps improve my bike handling skills and efficiency for triathlon. I am very grateful for my ability to train and that I am healthy enough to train. I also participate in Cornerstone (a campus ministry at UNC). Additionally, I coach a youth triathlon team called SFS-TMS Thundercats. You could say that I am training future Tar Heel Triathletes! It is my favorite thing in the entire world. I love being their coach and teaching them all the things I have learned from racing triathlons. Seeing them race reminds me why I love triathlons so much.
Thank you, Mollie, for filling us in! We are amazed by your spirit and passion for this sport (or all three!).
If you are interested in UNC Triathlon Club, e-mail Will Powell at email@example.com or check out their website unctriathlon.com. Curious about other sport clubs? Check out their website here!