Triathlon Collegiate Club Nationals: Texas Texas Triathlon Team heads to Nationals at Clemson By RaceMill // April 20, 2015 We had a sit down with the President Neil Doughty and VP Carl Koehler of Texas Tri who let us know what is going on inside the club, who they are bringing to Nationals and how they plan on being successfulRM: How is the field looking for this year’s event?ND & CK: We are up against some of the fastest collegiate triathletes in the country, so the competition will be stiff. But that’s nothing new, and we love the challenge! RM: What has been the mantra for this year? The charge!ND & CK: The charge this year has been turning our triathlon CLUB into a triathlon TEAM. RM: How important is the team concept in each event? How is that communicated to the Club?ND & CK: The team concept is extremely important to Texas Triathlon. We constantly build and emphasize unity and camaraderie among our athletes. We want our team to be a close-knit family. Our practice structure and team culture are meant to not only encourage team members to challenge themselves, but to encourage and challenge others to do better and feel amazing about their progress. RM: How has the growing success of Collegiate Triathlon impacted your program? New opportunities?ND & CK: The growing success of Collegiate Triathlon, as well as the popularity of the sport, has definitely impacted our program. This year, club membership increased by 27 members - more than 40% from last year! If we are able to continue to have significant, or steady, increases each year, increase our awareness through races and sponsorships, and prove that there is demand for triathlons in Austin, we could potentially see The University of Texas granting us NCAA status. (But that’s just wishful thinking…) RM: How is the health of the team leading up to Nationals?ND & CK: The team is looking really strong! Everyone has been putting in extra time into their training over the last month and we seen some great improvements since then. Right now, we are making our last big push with some hill runs and open water swims before we begin to taper for Nationals. RM: How effective were the exhibition events in 2014 in preparing athletes for the 2015 Club Collegiate Tri season?Unfortunately, the spring season doesn’t offer too much in the way of exhibition events. Besides two sprint events, our very own Texas Triathlon Time Trial was our team’s only chance to come out and show off our speed on an Olympic course. RM: What was the key moment for the team this season?ND & CK: Our key moment this season was when we claimed first place at the South Midwest Conference Regionals and overtook the Texas A&M Triathlon team for the first time in our club’s history! Texas A&M is our biggest rival in the conference and the team has also historically been at the top of the conference. So, needless to say, it was an ecstatic and proud moment when we found out that we beat them by only two points. That moment also illustrated how much Texas Triathlon has grown in both size and strength since our humble beginning. RM: Considering your Texas home base, do you foresee any issues or complications with the venue in Clemson, S.C.? ND & CK: Well it’s certainly not an easy course, so that will be fun. But as far as serious issues, we see none. Austin, Texas has the perfect mix of hills, flats, and lakes for triathlon training. For example, we held our Time Trial at a local state park about a month ago, and the race conditions (water temp, air temp, elevation) were near identical to Clemson. With that Time Trial under our belts and Austin’s prime training location, our athletes are well prepared to take on Clemson’s course. RM: Which event do your athletes most look for ward to and why? Olympic, Mixed Team Relay, SprintND & CK: Olympic, for sure. It’s the distance we compete at the most and so naturally it’s the distance we train for! Our draft-legal athletes are pretty excited for the sprint course though…RM: Do you prefer draft-legal racing to non-draft? Why?ND & CK: From a team standpoint, most of our races are non-draft, which means not many of us have draft-legal experience. However as the sport grows and draft-legal gets more popular, our preference might start to change!RM: Any special "Thank You's" you would like to make for all those that helped this season?ND & CK: Absolutely! We have so many people to thank, I can hardly begin to say names. All of our athletes, their parents who support them, our fabulous coaches Joanna Williamson and Joanne Blackerby, the Division of Recreational Sports at UT, Spirit Fitness, High Five Events, and so many more. We couldn’t do what we do without the efforts of hundreds of people.