American International College Adds Women's Triathlon as Varsity Sport

By USA Triathlon | May 29, 2018, 3:49 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced that American International College (AIC) in Springfield, Massachusetts, is the 24th school in the nation and the first in the state to add women’s triathlon as a varsity sport. The NCAA Division II program expects to begin competition in the fall of 2019. 

“USA Triathlon is proud to welcome American International College as the latest women’s NCAA triathlon program, adding to our growing collegiate presence in the Northeast,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “The Yellow Jackets will benefit from strong regional competition in all three NCAA divisions, while experiencing firsthand the incredible growth of women’s triathlon at the varsity level."

A three-year grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation will enable AIC to implement a program built for long-term success. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant, established in 2015, is distributed to select NCAA member institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level.

“We are thrilled to expand our athletic opportunities for female student-athletes here at AIC,” said Matthew Johnson, AIC Director of Athletics. “Triathlon is an NCAA Emerging Sport that has experienced tremendous growth recently. In 2017, new triathlon programs were added in double digits throughout the country, and we are proud to join this trend. We feel the addition of triathlon is a natural fit for the AIC community as our women’s cross country and track programs have been very strong.” 

AIC is the ninth school in the NCAA’s Division II to add women’s triathlon as a varsity sport. The Yellow Jackets join four other varsity programs in USA Triathlon’s Northeast Region: Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y., Division II), Johnson State College (Johnson, Vt., Division III), St. Thomas Aquinas University (Sparkill, N.Y., Division III) and Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y., Division I).

AIC will commence its recruiting efforts and begin a national search for a head coach this summer.  

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 24 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. The complete race schedule for the 2018 women’s collegiate triathlon season is available here.   

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

Women’s Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs as of May 29, 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
American International College (Springfield, Mass.)
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).