Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

New Triathlon Club hits the ground running, swimming, cycling

Published: January 18, 2013
Section: Features

As this semester starts, the newly-recognized triathlon club is also picking up steam on campus. Triathlon started last September and—recognized by the Student Union in October—is gaining more prominence on campus.

“The main reason for starting the club was simply that a few other students and I had been swimming independently and we wanted a group of other students to swim with,” Jake Newfield ’13, co-founder and club president said. The club developed from a group of students simply swimming together to the formal idea of a triathlon club.

“The idea developed into forming a group of people who would swim and exercise together on a regular basis.” Newfield said about how the club got started. “During this past September, when I was planning on starting a triathlon club at Brandeis, I incidentally was introduced to Manu Wendum in the pool while we were swimming laps. Manu told me about his goal of reinstating the Brandeis swim club, and together we formed the Brandeis Triathlon Club.”

Once the club began, as is the struggle with any new club, Newfield had to promote it to the student body.

“Ultimately, I’d like to see the triathlon club become a competitive team and compete against other universities in local, regional and national triathlons. Only in the past few years has the sport of triathlon been on the radar in the college scene,” Newfield said.

Newfield said that although triathlon is a new sport and does not have the same recognition as sports such as basketball, he hopes to develop Brandeis’ team into one of the top 200 university triathlon teams. Newfield’s goal for a competitive club might emerge soon, with the possibility of a few members competing at the Triathlon Collegiate Nationals this April.

Newfield dedicated time to finding new members for the club. “With the help of another club member, I created flyers and ads promoting the triathlon club. A few other members and I posted them in various dorms, gyms and buildings throughout the school. However, the most effective way we’ve gained members is by recruiting people from the gym and from the pool. We also utilize a listserv, a Brandeis web page and a Facebook page as means for attracting new members,” he said.

Newfield hopes to get many students showing up for each practice and to enjoy exercising together. As the new semester begins, he aims to have 10 to 15 members participate in each practice session.

Although there was a daily attendance of about five students showing up for swim practice and another six showing up to bike practice at the end of the fall semester, Newfield hopes to increase those numbers. With the possibility of a formation of a competitive team, Newfield said he aims “to inspire members to gain an interest in triathlon: most members are only interested in swimming or they are only interested in biking. To inspire individuals to pursue all three disciplines of triathlon would be a step in forming a competitive team.”

Newfield’s vision has helped the club become what it is, with 62 members, a swim coach, access to the new spin room and recognition by USA Triathlon. The rigorous practice schedule involves meeting in the evenings Monday through Thursday and during the afternoons Friday through Sunday. The triathlon club is currently a recognized club in the process of being a club sport. Recognition by USA Triathlon will give them the opportunity to register for events sponsored by USAT when they have enough members to compete.
“Where this club goes in two years is largely dependent on the leaders who take over after the current leaders graduate, namely, Joe Jacobowitz and Manu Wendum,” Newfield said.
“For the club to continue to grow, the leadership of the club must continue to be influential and motivated while building a base of membership and sparking the interest of new members. This being said, if the club continues on the path it is going, I have no doubt that the membership will reach 100-150 in the next two years and will reach a level of competitiveness in which it will compete against other universities in local and regional triathlons,” Newfield said.