“Everyone had a ton of school spirit,” Silva said, reminiscing about the team’s first race last season at the Lake George triathlon. “Everyone was rocking their school gear—Boston University, Boston College, West Point.”
“We were miserable trying to beat them during the race,” Silva said. “But after we all finished, the Boston University team came over and said, ‘Awesome race, welcome to the conference.’ Their coach also introduced himself and invited us to work out with his team in the future. Such camaraderie, I believe, is what makes triathlon a lot different from other collegiate sports.”
While it is a club sport, the triathlon team takes training very seriously. Members often train every day, and the programs vary from swims at Blodgett Pool and spinning sessions to lifts and group runs. “Sunday runs are our signature runs,” Faza said. “We meet in Winthrop courtyard, stretch as a group, then run in several different pace groups. As the year goes on, we begin holding specialized practices.”
While staying true to their commitment to the sport, the team also recognizes the tight schedule of Harvard student-athletes.
“We are really flexible—a lot of people on our team participate in other sports or extracurriculars, and we want to make sure these people can make it to as many practices as possible,” Silva said.
The team aspires to provide its members with a close community of triathletes, while supporting their efforts to balance the sport with academic and extracurricular commitments.
“The triathlon is incredibly intimidating to a lot of people,” Faza said. “A lot of it comes from the swimming portion and the long distances, in addition to the financial and logistical barriers. That’s why we are here. We can give people the opportunity to train on their commuter bikes or give them a spinning lesson, go on a group run, and lift together.”
A COMMUNITY OF ATHLETES
“The biggest thing that we can provide is the community of people,” Silva said. If anyone is actually interested in running a triathlon, we will do our best to make it happen.”
In terms of competition, the team hopes to solidify its presence in the Northeast Regional Conference. They will have their chance this April as the squad heads west to Arizona to compete at the USAT Collegiate Triathlon Championship in search of a national title.
Above all, just like any other varsity or club athletic team, the Harvard Triathlon Team proudly wears the “H” on the collegiate scene.
“At our first race of the season, when the teams gathered around the starting area saw our Harvard racing gear, their eyes open up,” Faza said. “[Our arrival] has become news around the conference, and people have become very receptive and welcoming of us. We feel a lot of weight on our Harvard shield.”
—Staff writer James Lim can be reached at email@example.com.