Triathlon Collegiate Club Nationals: Iowa State By RaceMill // April 21, 2015 Questions answered by Emily Epperson.RM: How is the field looking for this years event?EE: Great! We are bringing 34 members this year to Collegiate Nationals which is the largest group we have ever had. Everyone is really excited for the event. We have a lot of new members racing this year at Nationals which is really exciting for our team.RM: What has been the mantra for this year? Where is that established? Pre-Season Camp?EE: A team mantra that was established last year is: can’t stop, won’t stop. It became more of an inside joke between a few members on the team and then ended up spreading throughout the whole club. Eventually everyone said it at some point either at practice, at races, or at our social events. It’s a fun mantra that helps pump us up at races and even at practice.RM: How important is the team concept in each event? How is that communicated to the Club?EE: As a team, we are very close and consider one another as family. We are very supportive and welcoming to new members. Also this idea that we are a big family doesn’t stop when you graduate. We enjoy keeping in touch with alum and we even have an alumni newsletter that goes out to former members of the club! We also start every race with team chant that gets everyone psyched to race.RM: How has the growing success of Collegiate Triathlon impacted your program? New opportunities?EE: We have had a tremendous growth in our club team over the past few years which has not only helped our club but our Midwest Conference representation as well. We are able to represent Iowa State really well not only at Collegiate Nationals but at our conference races throughout the summer and winter. It’s really exciting to see new faces in our club that are really passionate about the sport of triathlon. It’s always fun when we all share the same passion of the sport and push each other in training to perform well at Collegiate Nationals and at our conference races.RM: How is the health of the team leading up to Nationals? EE: Great! We’ve been training really hard with the goal of great personal performances in mind. We try to emphasize not only healthy bodies but healthy minds with weekly yoga sessions.RM: How effective were the exhibition events in 2014 in preparing athletes for the 2015 Club Collegiate Tri season?EE: We had more participation at our summer and winter conference races this past year which provided great representation for our team and school. This also helped with preparation for Collegiate Nationals this year. The conference races were able to provide our members that were new to the sport an experience that kept them in our club and get more excited about the sport. The atmosphere of a race is something you don’t understand until you do a race.RM: What was the key moment for the team this season?EE: We’ve had many key moments for the team this season. Each conference race we had brought our team closer together. The team bonding we get traveling to each conference race is priceless. We also get great team bonding not only at our races, but at our practices and at our social events where we can just relax and not worry about working out for once. We are able to have some fun social events, such as formals, paint balling, lock-ins, and playing sand volleyball. All of the activities that we have with the club bring us all together which is awesome.RM: Considering your home base, do you foresee any issues or complications with the venue in Clemson, S.C.?EE: We don’t have many hills to train on, so the bike course could be challenging to some of our team members. Cycling outside in general may be a problem as we have been riding on the trainers for the last 6-8 months with little opportunity to ride outside. The heat may also be an issue because Iowa isn’t the warmest state during the winter months.RM: Which event do your athletes most look forward to and why? Olympic, Mixed Team RelayEE: Everybody looks forward to the Mixed Team Relay whether or not you are racing. It’s a lot of fun to watch for those who aren’t doing this particular race. For those racing, it’s an opportunity to have some fun with your teammates and other competitors.RM: Do you prefer draft-legal racing to non-draft? Why?EE: Our team enjoys watching the draft-legal race. We usually have a couple of guys do the draft legal race, so it’s fun to cheer them on. Our team enjoys the non-draft legal race more because it’s the race everyone has been training for and the race that everyone can participate in. RM: Any special "Thank You's" you would like to make for all those that helped this season?EE: Gaby Bunten (our coach) for providing workouts for this past year leading up to Collegiate Nationals. Jessica Fins (MWCTC commissioner) for being awesome with giving each conference team adequate information for each conference race and Collegiate Nationals. She was always there to answer any question you had. Sam Nilsson (our club team’s trip coordinator) for planning our trip to Collegiate Nationals and to all of the conference races we had last summer and this past winter. All of the exec members on the Iowa State club team. Those members include: Hunter Follen, Stephen Dennison, Lincoln Eppard, Zach Shaver, Pauline Aamodt, Todd Matteson, Hanna Hoch, Allison Witters, and Cody Hut. Being president of the club can bring on a lot of stress at times, but these members were always willing to help me with whatever I needed. Each member has their own responsibility within the club that helps balance out the responsibilities that the club brings.-Our co-race directors for our fundraising events that we put on throughout the year to help with funding to go to Collegiate Nationals. Those members are: Craig Albers, John Beck, Nick Meyers, Tucker Creger, and Emily Schwake. With the help of these members we were able to put on phenomenal races (outdoor triathlon, indoor triathlon, and 5k) that helped with funding for this year to go to Collegiate Nationals.