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cadet blogs

Swab Summer to Swimming in the Thames

(Athletics, Class of 2019) Permanent link   All Posts
Twarog Photo As a fourth class, or freshman, the transition from Swab Summer to the school year can be…very stressful. You go from a setting where you are given five minutes to shower and change to an environment where you have to manage your time meticulously. There is no “freshman orientation” here. Not only this, but with the return of the Corps of Cadets, you’re faced with the challenge of learning the names and faces of each member of your company (there are more than 100 cadets in each company). With all of this stress, one needs an outlet. For me, this outlet was racing for the Academy’s Triathlon Team.

 

Before coming to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy earlier this year, I competed as a road cyclist on the Elm City Velo Cycling Team, out of Keene, New Hampshire. Primarily, I raced longer road races (40–65 mile races) and hill climbs. Simply put, I love riding, and I didn’t want to give it up when I came here. This was partially the reason why I decided to join the USCGA’s Triathlon Team. Even beyond this, the Triathlon Team here operates similarly to my old cycling team; each racer decides on which races they want to do and they can tailor their training to those races. In other words, the team offers you a lot of freedom in setting your own athletic goals. It’s the type of setting that I thrive in.

 

I’ll be honest. There aren’t any other teams at the USCGA like the Triathlon Team. This is part of the thrill of being on the team. A few memories that stand out from this season include:

  • Sleeping on the floor of a training room at the Portland Small Boat Station in Maine
  • Swimming in the Thames as the sailing and crew teams looked at us like we were out of our minds
  • Sitting on the side of the road in the cold for an hour in soaked spandex while I waited for my ride back to the start when I didn’t finish the Conference Championships (not necessarily the best memory, to be honest)
  • Countless hours of sharing the various adventures each of us have had while training or racing
  • Inadvertently running into a pack of wild boar while running next to Connecticut College
  • Crossing the finish line of my first Olympic Triathlon. There are no words to describe that feeling.

 

The weeks following the season have been pretty exciting. Despite the disappointing results at Regionals, the team selected me as an alternate for the Nationals Team that will be travelling down to South Carolina in April for the U.S. Collegiate National Championships. This is a pretty big deal considering it is historically the best male Triathlon Team in USCGA history. Being selected as a fourth class makes it even that much bigger of a deal. More recently, I’ve exclusively been focusing on riding consistently. In mid-November, I’ll be competing in my first Cyclocross race, which is a mix between a road race and a mountain bike race. Even beyond this, I joined the United States Military Endurance Sports Cycling Development Team and the beginning of November to pursue cycling more seriously.

 

Compared to other cadets, my athletic track is a bit unconventional. There aren’t any other cadets who take road cycling seriously, so I’ve had to create my own way to a certain extent. That being said, my teammates and peers have been tremendously supportive of my goals and this has been hugely helpful and encouraging. Despite the stress that fourth class year brings, the adventures made with the Triathlon Team have given me something consistently to look forward to each day.

 

More about Evan.