BONDURANT — The newest athletic program at Central College, the women’s triathlon team, competed for the first time Sunday morning at the CyMan Triathlon hosted by the Iowa State University Triathlon Club.
Coach Jennie Hedrick-Rozenberg entered five student-athletes into an open field featuring 117 male and female competitors. The athletes completed a sprint triathlon, which started with a 750-meter swim (0.5 miles), followed by a 20,000-meter bike ride (12.4 miles) and a 5,000-meter run (3.1 miles). There were no team scores.
Not only was it the first time a Central team competed in a triathlon, four of the five Dutch entrants had never competed an outdoor triathlon.
“Lindsey Blommers (sophomore, Pella) did a practice triathlon in the summer with some local people,” Hedrick-Rozenberg said. “Alex Griggs (sophomore, Knoxville) did a indoor triathlon with the club team last winter.”
In the women’s collegiate division, Blommers was the second-place finisher in 1 hour, 24 minutes and 29 seconds. Also, in the collegiate division, Griggs was fifth in 1:43.19 and Katie Mitchell (senior, Des Moines, Hoover HS) was sixth in 2:19.19.
Blommers was seventh of 37 female entrants. Camille Wirkus from the Iowa State club team won the collegiate race in 1:24.00. Blommers transferred to Central after spending a year at a community college.
“I’ve coached Lindsey in swimming since she was five,” Hedick-Rozenberg said. “She was a state qualifier in track and swimming during high school, which is ideal for a triathlete. She was ready to compete in something out of being out of sports for a year.”
Also competing but in the women’s 20-24 year old group, Laurynn Mize (senior, Sycamore) was second in 1:56.56 and Grace Parrish (sophomore, Cedar Rapids, Xavier) was third in 2:20.06.
“Laurynn learned to ride a bike last Sunday,” Hedrick-Rozenberg said. “She had never been on a bike before in her life. She went from using a really old mountain bike to being able to ride a road bike and compete in her first triathlon within in a week.”
The Dutch athletes were most inexperienced in the first part of the triathlon, swimming.
“For everybody but Lindsey, it was their first time swimming in an open water competition,” Hedrick-Rozenberg said. “They were nervous but they did a really good job. The water was 63 degrees, which is freezing. A lot of competitors couldn’t put their faces in the water because it was so cold.
“Other than the water temperature, it was the perfect weather for a triathlon.”