CEDAR RAPIDS — Coe College, along with USA Triathlon, announced today the addition of women’s triathlon as a varsity sport.
Coe is the first school in Iowa and 29th school nationwide to offer women’s triathlon as a varsity sport.
Women’s triathlon will serve as a club sport during the fall of 2019 before receiving varsity status in the fall of 2020. Women’s collegiate triathlons feature sprint-distance races, consisting of a 750-meter open-water swim, a draft-legal 20-kilometer bike ride and a 5-kilometer run.
“As the first women’s varsity program in the state of Iowa — a hub for triathlon in the U.S. — Coe College makes a strong addition to our NCAA triathlon family,” Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO, said in a release. “I look forward to welcoming the new squad to the race course at the club level this fall and in varsity competition in 2020.”
The introduction of women’s triathlon to Coe College’s varsity sport offerings was made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation’s Women’s Emerging Sport Grant. This grant is distributed to select NCAA member institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level.
“We have been exploring sport expansion at Coe College. Adding women’s triathlon became a reality with a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation,” said Coe Director of Athletics and Recreation Sonny Travis. “I want to thank USA Triathlon for their support in bringing women’s triathlon to Coe College.”
Coe is the 11th collegiate athletic program to offer women’s triathlon at the NCAA Division III level and is the seventh in the Midwest. Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon), Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.), Milwaukee School of Engineering, North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) and Trine University (Angola, Ind.) already off the sport.
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Other NCAA III program are at Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.), Northern Vermont University-Johnson (Johnson, Vt.), Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.) and Willamette University (Salem, Ore.).
Kris Tiedt, Coe’s head women’s tennis coach, also will serve as head coach of the women’s triathlon program. Over the last 20 years, Tiedt has completed several sprint triathlon events and has been an official finisher at six Ironman events. Tiedt serves as Coe’s triathlon course instructor and is in the process of obtaining a Level I USA Triathlon coaching license and the Ironman coaching certification.
“The decision to add women’s triathlon was made easier with Kris Tiedt on staff,” Travis said. “She has a proven triathlon background as both a participant and instructor. She has a strong interest in implementing the program at Coe.”
A proponent of wellness, Tiedt serves as a volunteer member on the Coe College Faculty/Staff Wellness Committee. Through this role, Coe introduced the annual Spring Sprint Triathlon event to faculty, staff and students in the spring of 2017. Under Tiedt’s coaching, approximately 40 triathletes complete this challenge each spring.
“I am thrilled to take on such a large role in the building of a foundation for women’s triathlon at Coe College,” Tiedt said. “I consider this a humbling opportunity for myself and yet another opportunity on campus for the many future Kohawk members of this program. I am excited to navigate the waters, bike paths and running trails ahead.”