Triathlon has no limits for who it can reach. In every region around the country and around the world, people with different backgrounds come together as one because of a mutual love for this sport.
To help connect USA Triathlon members with other athletes in their area, we've been sharing stories of age groupers in each of our six regions. Here's our latest feature highlighting Priscilla Westfield, a USA Triathlon member from the Southeast Region. You can read her personal triathlon journey below.
I started my triathlon adventure in 2008, competing in a military sponsored triathlon located in Camp Humphreys, South Korea. (I was an active duty Army Soldier at the time of competition). I competed with a mountain bike, which proved to be challenging, but I was able to win my age group. Competing boosted my confidence and helped me realize I could do anything I set my mind on.
Time went by before I competed in my second triathlon, in 2015, which inevitably was the starting point for future triathlon adventures. It was called "The Ride on Ryan", a local triathlon race in Savannah GA. dedicated in honor of Ryan Williams, who suddenly passed away at the age of 32. Ryan Williams was a passionate and talented triathlete, who devoted most of his time as a tri coach and mentor. His spirit and mission still lives on at the "Ride on Ryan", where novice and experienced triathletes alike have a platform to swim, bike and run — building confidence, character and community.
The event soon became an annual race, with more competitors registering each year. In 2017, the Ride on Ryan became USAT sanctioned, which became the bridge to bigger and greater things for me. I was able to qualify to compete at the USAT Olympic and Sprint Distance National Championships, in Omaha, Nebraska. I did well in the Sprint, and soon found myself qualifying for the ITU Draft-Legal Sprint Distance World Championships in Gold Coast Australia with Team USA. I never imagined, in a million years, I would be able to reach such a momentous level.
With a big race in sight, I began to seriously train and learn as much as I could about the world of triathlon. I soon discovered there was an extremely small percentage of African-American triathletes, and no professional African-American female triathlete. The thoughts started racing in my head — “what if?” What if, I was the first black female professional triathlete? So, I figured I’d give it a try. Triathlon has taught me to never be afraid to jump into the unknown. The only failure is not trying.
Priscilla Westfield is an age group athlete in the USA Triathlon Southeast Region. To connect with fellow athletes like her, and to follow Southeast Region news, check out our USA Triathlon Southeast Region Facebook page.