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Her Story: Getting to Know Rachel Sears Casanta

By brenda barrera | July 18, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

"Rachel is involved in all aspects of our sport from a competitor to coach and has demonstrated leadership in her work with USA Triathlon’s Southwest Regional Council,” said Women’s Committee chairperson Tara Comer.  

Sears Casanta has been an endurance athlete for more than 20 years, a coach for 12, and designed training programs for Team USA Duathlon short and long course programs. She and her husband Philip own Hypercat Racing, an endurance sport coaching & bike fit studio based in Ventura, Calif., and are the proud parents of one year old son, Giovanni.

Let’s get to know Rachel a little bit more!Rachel Sears Casanta

You certainly bring a wealth of experience to the Women’s Committee. You have been involved with the USA Triathlon Southwest Region since 2009.  With a full plate as an elite and coach, why did you decide to get involved in the governance of the sport?
I think to truly give back to the sport warrants understanding how the sport is being lead, the challenges it faces and then getting your hands dirty with the hard work of helping to lead the sport into the future. I got involved because I was involved in multisport in every other possible way and it was the next step in my personal journey in multisport.

What projects have you worked on?
As the Administrator for the Southwest Region Council I work to support the council’s initiatives largely through marketing and communications.  Projects have varied with the focus of the council each passing year and have ranged from keeping the rankings for our Youth & Junior F1 and Talent ID Series races, programs support/promotion of duathlon events in our region, club outreach and most recently paratriathlon. 

Social media is an area that I work extensively on and am the person behind the USAT Southwest Region Facebook page as well as the @USAT_Southwest Twitter account. Typical administrative duties have included making arrangements for the council’s annual meetings and doing whatever is needed to help the council achieve its goals and stay on track and in line with the USAT Southwest Region mission statement.

What have you enjoyed about working on the Southwest Region Council?
I enjoy the challenge of working with a diverse group of individuals who are all volunteers and have different interests and motivations for serving on the Council.

The common thread is a desire to give back to our sport and make it better for those who come after us.  The challenges of being the administrator have really helped me to fine tune a wide range of interpersonal skills and have afforded me the opportunity for considerable personal growth.

What advice would you have for someone that wants to become more involved in governance but is hesitant?
Clearly define your personal motivations and goals for getting involved and then dive in head first! If you are true to yourself and know why you are getting involved then giving your time is much easier to prioritize and manage.

Your son just turned one, how are you balancing all of your different roles? 
Like any parent, I am constantly working on balance!  Every day I aim to make some time for myself which usually involves carving out 1.5 to 2 hours to get in a workout or two. I take care of the critical business matters of the day spend the remaining time lavishing as much love and attention on my son as possible! I find that if I take care of myself, then I am very efficient in business and I’m the best mom I can be. I try not to waste time or expend energy on things that don’t matter.

What races do you have coming up for this year?
I’ve competed in 10 events so far this year and have plans to do several more local Southern California run races, duathlons and triathlons. With possible ‘family expansion’ on the horizon, I’m limiting the ‘big’ races to a possible trip to USAT Duathlon Nationals in October. 

Okay, let’s do a little word or phrase association . . .

My inspiration is my son and being the best role model for him that I can be.

Good luck charm or superstition
I wear a necklace with a charm that has my son’s footprint, name and birthdate.

Best moment of triathlon career
It wasn’t the biggest or most important race of my career, but traveling home to Syracuse, NY to support the inaugural Irongirl Triathlon and having my mom, dad, brother Chris and cousins there to see me lead the race from start to finish was a ‘best moment.’           

Most challenging/difficult triathlon moment
Preparing for the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Rimini, Italy on 9/11/01 and catching glimpses of what was happening at home in the USA on the hotel lobby television. 

Your definition of success
Doing what you love and loving what you do.

After a race, I like to ________ (fill in the blank)
Enjoy a long, hot shower, a good meal, and a nap!

Post race or workout treat (food)
More sushi!

Favorite place to run
I love anyplace where there is dirt, bush and the potential to see wildlife and getting lost along the way; one of my favorite places is the Marin Headlands (San Francisco Bay Area).

Favorite bike course
I love cycling so much that choosing a single bike course is impossible except to say a course that is technical with lots of short, steep hills, rollers and switchbacks would be my favorite!

Favorite place to swim
I love swimming in the San Francisco Bay (South End Rowing Club) or along the jettys in Ventura, CA.

Inspired by (female triathlete)
As a newbie triathlete in 1999 I was inspired by Barb Lindquist, Siri Lindley and Michellie Jones.

Inspired by (female in triathlon governance)

I met Dr. Sarah Springman/Great Britain (ITU Executive Board, VP) when in Edinburgh, Scotland for the ITU Duathlon World Championships.

What sports-related book is on your nightstand or one that you’ve recently read?
I just started reading Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. and recently finished The Winner’s Manual by Jim Tressel. 

Rachel Sears Casanta, has a Master’s degree in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco, is certified coach for USA Triathlon (Level II, Youth & Junior), USA Track & Field (Level I), USA Cycling (Level II), A.C.E. and A.S.C.A. She is also a proud graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.

You can follower her on Twitter: @RachelCasanta