COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon, along with Delaware State University Director of Athletics Dr. D. Scott Gines, today announced that Delaware State University is the second HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the nation to add women’s triathlon as a varsity sport. The school is the 35th overall to add women’s triathlon at the varsity level, and the eighth at the NCAA Division I level.
DSU, based in Dover, Delaware, will begin competition in the fall 2021 season. A national search for the inaugural program’s head coach will begin immediately.
“USA Triathlon is proud to recognize Delaware State as the second historically black university to offer varsity women’s triathlon,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “Fostering diversity in the U.S. multisport community is a long-term process — but working with HBCUs to create avenues for young African-American women to compete has been key to our efforts. In addition, we are eager to witness the talent and competition that DSU’s inaugural team will bring to the women’s collegiate triathlon movement as our eighth Division I program.”
“Women’s triathlon is an NCAA Emerging Sport, and Delaware State has a successful history of launching emerging women’s programs,” Dr. Gines said. “Women’s triathlon is comprised of three lifetime sports. We have an ideal climate and location; we’re surrounded by ideal training sites, trails, facilities and personnel; and I am confident that potential high-achieving student-athletes in Delaware and our surrounding states will be drawn to this championship program.”
“Delaware State’s involvement in the sport of triathlon will continue to provide opportunities for young black women to take part in the sport on the collegiate level, but mainly those young ladies that currently reside in the Delmarva Peninsula,” said Dr. Tekemia Dorsey, CEO of the International Association of Black Triathletes and member of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors. “Professionally and personally, I look forward to serving as a resource for Delaware State’s athletic department wherever needed for continued growth, development and success.”
Hampton University, an NCAA Division I program located in Hampton, Virginia, became the first HBCU to add the sport last October. USA Triathlon is planning several other initiatives focused on HBCU community engagement, including an indoor triathlon series at HBCU campuses and in surrounding communities, as well as a professional development program for HBCU students interested in working in the Olympic and Paralympic Movements.
These initiatives are part of USA Triathlon’s larger mission to increase diversity in triathlon. The organization has been recognized by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee for three consecutive years for its diversity and inclusion efforts, receiving the USOPC’s Advancing Diversity & Inclusion Award in 2017 and its Diversity & Inclusion Choice Award in 2018 and 2019. The 2019 award specifically recognized USA Triathlon’s efforts to introduce collegiate triathlon at HBCUs nationwide.
The addition of women’s triathlon to DSU’s varsity sport offerings is made possible through a 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 varsity level.
DSU joins 11 other varsity programs located in USA Triathlon’s Mideast Region: Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C., DII), Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, W.V., DII), East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn., DI), Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va., DIII), Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C., DIII), Hampton University (Hampton, Va., DI), King University (Bristol, Tenn., DII), Lenoir-Rhyne University (Hickory, N.C., DII), Mary Baldwin University (Staunton, Va., DIII), Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C., DII) and Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky., DIII).
The NCAA named triathlon an Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, a designation that gives USA Triathlon a 10-year window to demonstrate the sport’s sustainability at the NCAA level by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs. The governing body is approaching that goal with momentum on its side, as 27 schools have added the sport since January of 2017, and 35 schools have done so since 2014.
Women’s triathlon is a fall sport. The varsity season includes three Regional Qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Races are sprint-distance, featuring 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 women’s collegiate triathlon events and programming — or to inquire about helping to identify and recruit the next women’s varsity collegiate program — contact Tim Yount, USA Triathlon Chief Sport Development Officer, at Tim.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women’s Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs (as of April 3, 2020):
NCAA Division I
Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)
Delaware State University (Dover, Del.)
East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.)
Hampton University (Hampton, Va.)
Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, Texas)
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.)
Lenoir-Rhyne University (Hickory, N.C.)
King University (Bristol, Tenn.)
Montana State University Billings (Billings, Mont.)
Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.)
Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C.)
NCAA Division III
Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Central College (Pella, Iowa)
Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.)
Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.)
Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C.)
Mary Baldwin University (Staunton, Va.)
Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.)
Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis.)
North Central College (Naperville, Ill.)
Northern Vermont University-Johnson (Johnson, Vt.)
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 at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — 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 & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).