Triathlon Collegiate Club Nationals: Cal Poly SLO

SLO leaves it all on the course.

Answers:  Becca Brookes

SLO Tri Team President

RM:  How is the field looking for this years event?

BB:  The field is fresh this year for Cal Poly. Last year we lost many of our top athletes so we are "building up" so to speak. But the team has a handful of very talented and hardworking new members who are doing their best to fill in the shoes of those top athletes that have come before them. Our mens team is looking strong and ready to leave it all on the course in SC.

RM:  What has been the mantra for this year?  Where is that established? Pre-Season Camp?

BB:  I would say that the mantra for this year has been "I wanna go fast". There has been a group of athletes who have taken the initiative to challenge themselves, do extra workouts and get faster...with a little bit of friendly rivalry of course. I believe that this attitude of WANTING to go above and beyond when it comes to training has been what has pushed many of our athletes to the level that they are currently at.

RM:  How important is the team concept in each event?  How is that communicated to the Club?

BB:  Team spirit is big on the CP Tri team! With 160 total members there's a big range of abilities on the team but we all have one thing in common... we are Mustangs. Less competitive members are extremely supportive of our nationals athletes. For instance, we held a fundraising garage sale for our Nationals team and our entire team helped pitch in. During each race members wait at the finish line cheering on our athletes until everyone has crossed the finish line. Having support from all sides is one of the things that makes CP Tri more of a "family" than a team.

RM:  How has the growing success of Collegiate Triathlon impacted your program?  New opportunities?

BB:  The growing success of Collegiate triathlon has definitely had a positive impact on our team. We have had an extremely high membership these past few years and are getting more recognition than ever from local athletes and businesses. This last year we were awarded "Cal Poly's Sports Club of the Year", which I feel is due to not only our athletic performance but also fun, welcoming team atmosphere.

RM:  How is the health of the team leading up to Nationals?

BB:  We unfortunately will not be having one of our top athletes Connor Sousa joining us at Nationals due to an injury. Besides that the team is in good health.

RM:  What was the key moment for the team this season?

BB:  The key moment for our team this season was when our Pro coach Scott Machado decided to give presentations at our club meetings every other week. I believe that his presence, wisdom and information that he shared outside of normal practices caused our more competitive athletes to be more focused and involved in their training. He was able to go into detail and explain critical  components to athletic performance such as the training plan, why certain workouts are more important than others, the importance of recovery, and constantly reminding athletes to "train smarter not harder". I think that this has helped contribute to the low injury rate on the team this year and the high rate of improvement in many of our athletes.

RM:  Considering your home base, do you foresee any issues or complications with the venue in Clemson, S.C.?

BB:  The heat and humidity! We are spoiled here in San Luis Obispo with sunny and 75 degree weather 9/10 days, so the South Carolina climate may ad some difficulty for our athletes.

RM:  Which event does your athletes most look forward to and why?  Olympic, Mixed Team Relay

BB:  Our athletes definitely look forward to Wildflower Triathlon up in Lake San Antonio. The event is hosted by Tri California and it is always one that never fails to disappoint. The course is difficult, the volunteers are wild and crazy, the atmosphere is teeming with energy from the 3,000 athletes that's definitely one for the books. And all of our athletes competing at nationals will be competing in that race - just 7 days after Nationals!

RM:  Do you prefer draft-legal racing to non-draft? Why?

BB:  It depends who you ask! Our team as a whole has preferred non-draft legal racing but this season Dillon Hollinger and Connor Sousa have proven to be very successful in draft legal and managed to utilize their teamwork and place in the top 10 at nearly every WCCTC race this season. The teamwork needed for draft legal adds another level to the typical triathlon... and you've gotta admit, it's a whole lot more fun to watch than a traditional non-draft race!

RM:  Any special "Thank You's" you would like to make for all those that helped this season?

BB:  Special thank you's to our Pro Coach Scott Machado and Student Head Coach Dylan Decaussin for making sure that our athletes all [reached] their peak for this race. Another thank you to Haley Ehlers our nationals coordinator, without her hard work this event would not be possible.

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