Millikin University Becomes 18th School in Nation to Add Varsity Women’s Triathlon

By USA Triathlon | Oct. 26, 2017, 3:41 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced that Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, is the 18th school in the nation to add women’s triathlon to its varsity sport offerings. The Division III team will begin competing in the fall 2018 season.

The addition of the women’s triathlon program is being made possible through a $70,000 grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level.

“USA Triathlon is pleased to welcome Millikin University as the 18th varsity women’s triathlon program in the nation, adding to our growing NCAA presence in the Midwest,” said USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris. “The commitment and enthusiasm of the Millikin Athletic Department throughout this process has been outstanding, and I am confident that the university will assemble a team of talented student-athletes.”

Millikin will begin the process of hiring a head coach this fall, and will begin recruiting student-athletes immediately. 

“We are looking forward to adding the great sport of women’s triathlon to Millikin University in the fall of 2018,” said Millikin Director of Athletics Dr. Craig White. “Triathlon fits Decatur and central Illinois extremely well, and the athleticism and dedication required to compete in this challenging sport will be a great fit with our athletic department.”

The Decatur community has had a strong multisport presence since 2007 with the start of the Rodney T. Miller Lakeside Triathlon, named after a Millikin alumnus, six-time NCAA champion swimmer and Illinois state police officer who died in the line of duty in 2006. The event, now under a new name as the Decatur Lakeside Triathlon, is a staple of the local race calendar and has supported participants of all ages and abilities since its inception.

The university joins North Central College in Naperville as the second varsity women’s triathlon program in the state of Illinois. Seven other Division III schools offer the sport, including Centenary College of Louisiana (Shreveport, La.), Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.), Marymount University (Arlington, Va.), Milwaukee School of Engineering, North Central College, Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.) and Trine University (Angola, Ind.). 

“Millikin is happy to be a pioneer in adding women’s triathlon to our intercollegiate athletics offerings,” said Millikin President Dr. Patrick White. “Triathlon has long generated interest and participation in Decatur and the region. Now Millikin women will be able to compete across the country in this challenging life sport and further spread the reputation of Millikin University to new fans. We are grateful for the recognition and support provided by USA Triathlon as we grow this important opportunity for Millikin student-athletes.”

Triathlon received overwhelming approval through a voting process in Jan. 2014 at the NCAA Convention in San Diego by Division I, II and III colleges and universities to be included as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, and has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA sport option by recruiting at least 40 schools to offer the sport at the varsity level.

The collegiate women’s triathlon  season, which is composed of three regional qualifiers and the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship, features sprint-distance races covering a 750-meter open water swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike, and 5-kilometer run.

For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa. For questions regarding varsity collegiate women’s triathlon events and programming, contact Jessica Welk at Jessica.welk@usatriathlon.org

About USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).