Calvin College Becomes First School in Michigan to Add Women’s Triathlon as Varsity Sport

By USA Triathlon | May 17, 2018, 8:34 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as the first school in the state of Michigan and the 10th at the NCAA Division III level to add women’s triathlon as a varsity sport. 

Calvin will use the upcoming 2018-19 academic year to hire a head coach and build the foundation for its first year of varsity competition, set for the 2019-20 season. A national search for a head coach will begin immediately.

“USA Triathlon is proud to welcome the newest addition to the women’s NCAA triathlon family in the Calvin College Knights,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “The athletic and institutional leadership at Calvin have worked closely with USA Triathlon to plan for a triathlon program that will be both successful in competition and sustainable as a varsity sport. We look forward to seeing the Knights on the race course starting in 2019.”

The addition of women’s triathlon to Calvin’s varsity sport portfolio was made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation, which will fund the operating expenses of the program for its first three years. 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.

“I am very pleased to announce that Calvin will be adding women’s triathlon as a varsity sport,” said Dr. Jim Timmer, Director of Athletics at Calvin. “Triathlon is an exciting sport that has enjoyed popularity not only in West Michigan but throughout our country. I am also grateful to USA Triathlon for providing the resources to make this new opportunity available for female student-athletes at our college.”

“It’s a wonderful new opportunity for women and one that I fully embrace,” said Dr. Nancy Meyer, Calvin’s Senior Associate Director of Athletics. “We have excellent training facilities for triathletes and a college that offers a world-class Christian education. That makes for a strong combination in adding a new varsity sport. I look forward to seeing what triathletes can accomplish representing our institution as this sport continues to grow. We are also highly appreciative of the support USA Triathlon has provided to make this opportunity a reality.”

Other NCAA Division III women’s triathlon programs in the region include Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.), Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.), North Central College (Naperville, Ill.), Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Trine University (Angola, Ind.).

The NCAA named triathlon an Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, a designation that gives the sport a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA level. USA Triathlon is more than halfway to its goal of recruiting 40 schools by 2024, as 23 schools currently offer the sport at the varsity level for women. 

Women’s triathlon is a fall sport, and the varsity season includes three Regional Qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship. Athletes race over sprint-distance courses 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 Walk at Jessica.welk@usatriathlon.org

Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs as of May 18, 2018:

NCAA Division I 

Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)
East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.)
University of San Francisco (San Francisco, Calif.)
University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.)
Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.)

NCAA Division II
Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.)
Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.)
Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.)
Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y.)
Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, W.V.)
Drury University (Springfield, Mo.)
St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.)
Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C.)

NCAA Division III
Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.)
Johnson State College (Johnson, Vt.)
Marymount University (Arlington, Va.)
Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.)
Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis.)
North Central College (Naperville, Ill.)
Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.)
Trine University (Angola, Ind.)
Willamette University (Salem, Ore.)

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 events and connects with more than 400,000 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).