LaHaye Recreation Center to host indoor triathlon Sunday
January 15, 2020 | Lynchburg, Va.
For the second consecutive winter, Liberty University's triathlon team will host an indoor competition, the USA Tri60 Indoor Triathlon, early Sunday morning at the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center. It will again be directed by Todd Gollnick, a USA Triathlon-certified race director and husband of Liberty second-year Head Coach Heather Gollnick.
Close to 60 competitors have registered for the event, which will serve as a fundraiser to help cover the travel expenses for team members who qualify for the USA Triathlon Collegiate Nationals, set for April 3-4 in Tempe, Ariz.
The collegiate and open events will start with 10-minute swims in the LaHaye Aquatic Center followed by 30-minute cycling stages on stationary bikes in the cycling studio and 20-minute runs on treadmills. Top finishers will be determined by total distance covered. All participants in the USA Triathlon-sanctioned event will receive a T-shirt, medal, swim bag, and a pair of goggles.
Registration is still open and can be completed online.
A total of 22 Flames and Lady Flames team members will compete in the opening race at 7 a.m.
"Only one week into spring practice, it will be a good test of our athletes' fitness levels," Heather Gollnick said. "From a coaching standpoint, it will be a very good indication of who trained well over the break."
After competing in Sunday's first race, team members will serve as volunteers for the open race for ages 15-and-over and youth sprint to follow, timing the stages and encouraging participants.
Heather Gollnick said the upcoming Virginia Blue Ridge Ironman 70.3 race, held for the first time in Roanoke, Va., on June 7, has provided incentive for area triathletes to use Sunday's indoor event for training purposes.
"That has ignited the fire for triathlons to be held locally, with a surge of new events, mostly in the adult arena," she said.
Last weekend, the triathlon team's coaches and athletes put on a swim clinic in the Liberty Natatorium, geared primarily toward adult triathletes looking to refine their stroke. That clinic sold out, generating more money for the team.
Since the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Regional Championships held Oct. 19 at Smith Mountain Lake State Park, the team has entered a strength training phase, developing muscle that allows them to swim, bike, and run faster. Warm winter weather conditions have allowed team members to exercise outdoors.
"We have been really fortunate to get outside on the bike on Monday and Tuesday," Heather Gollnick said. "Every chance we have to get outside to train is phenomenal."
Before nationals, the Flames and Lady Flames will travel to the Clermont (Fla.) Challenge on March 7-8.
"Most people we are sending to Clermont have already qualifying for nationals, but we might end up adding one or two more," said Heather Gollnick, who has had a few more student-athletes try out for the team this week.
That includes sophomore Carter Ellis, an ROTC student new to the sport who has shown national qualifying potential, especially on the bike.