The U.S. Women’s Olympic Triathlon Team of Gwen Jorgensen, Sarah True and Katie Zaferes is one of the most dominant trios in the sport. Get to know these fierce athletes and their pre-race rituals, hidden talents and typical training schedules.
USA Triathlon: What is your earliest memory of participating in triathlon?
Gwen Jorgensen: I did a triathlon with my friend, Maggie Lach, in high school. We waited for each other on every leg. To be honest, I didn't like the biking portion and didn't think I would ever do a triathlon again. USA Triathlon recruited me into the sport. When they contacted me in 2009 I didn't even know what ITU triathlon was.
USAT: What would a perfect day look like for you?
Sarah True: Pancakes and coffee, a bike ride with friends on dirt roads, a doughnut, a nap, apple picking, spending time with my family and friends and lounging over a meal that is lovingly prepared.
USAT: How do you stay calm before a race?
Katie Zaferes: Nervous faces with my friend Lindsey Jerdonek, where we make horrible nervous faces to one another once we're at the venue on race day to calm our actual nerves.
USAT: What are your pre-competition rituals?
GJ: I like to do a hard swim, a hard bike and run efforts the day before a race to help get my body ready to go. I usually eat oatmeal as my meal before the race.
I travel with a rice cooker and eat most meals pre-race in the hotel room. (I think Patrick [Lemieux, Gwen’s husband] should make a book about all the different meals you can make with a rice cooker! He makes oats, rice, quinoa, veggies, meat, etc.)
USAT: Do you have any hidden talents?
ST: I'm a pretty darn good cook. I'm also a printmaker.
USAT: Who has been your greatest influence in triathlon?
KZ: Barb Lindquist, because she is the one who recruited me to actually start triathlon and got me going. Then I learned about her as an athlete and just how strong she was and I wanted to be like her. I wanted to be the triathlete who could hold their own and dominate on each part of the race.
USAT: Do you collect anything?
GJ: I cannot part with any memorabilia from college.
USAT: What does a typical day of training look like for you?
ST: Wake up at 7 a.m., coffee and breakfast over the “Daily Show.” Typically three sessions a day (20-25 hrs per week), balancing three sports and gym. Massage, a nap in there, walk with the dog, laundry, time with Ben [True, Sarah’s husband], vegging out in front of the TV, lots of food, reading and sleep at 10:30 p.m.
USAT: What role have your parents played in your sports career?
KZ: They were very influential and got me involved in everything (gymnastics, softball, lacrosse, swimming, dance, soccer, basketball, etc.) and then supported me throughout each one until I found my niche. My parents were at almost all of my games/swim meets/shows and they would somehow balance me and my sisters’ crazy schedules from one sport to another. Bonus is that I never felt any pressure. They just wanted me to do what made me happy.
USAT: If you were not an athlete, what would you like to be doing?
GJ: I would love to be a mom.
USAT: What is your worst habit?
ST: Not properly closing lids. It drives my husband crazy.
USAT: How do you unwind after competition?
KZ: Ice cream and a burger. In that order.