USA Triathlon Announces National Qualifiers for the 2021 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon
2 Sep, 2021
USA Triathlon has announced the dates and locations for the three events that will serve as National Qualifiers for the 2021 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon season.
The 2021 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships will return to Tempe, Arizona, for the fourth year on November 13. (The National Championships have been hosted by Arizona State University in Tempe every year since 2017, with the exception of the 2020 season that was cancelled due to COVID-19.)
“The 2021 season has been long-awaited for our entire women’s collegiate triathlon family,” said Tim Yount, Chief Sport Development Officer at USA Triathlon.
“When collegiate racing was put on pause in 2020, adaptability became the name of the game – and many teams took those challenges as an opportunity to become stronger and more cohesive.
“Several new NCAA programs will make their debut this season, and we can’t wait to welcome them as we approach the finish line for full NCAA Championship inclusion.”
The 2021 season begins on September 4 with the first national qualifier in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, hosted by race management company Experience Triathlon.
The second qualifier is set for October 16 in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, as part of the Kinetic Cup Triathlon Festival, hosted by Kinetic Multisports.
The third and final qualifier will take place on October 30 in Lake George, Utah, hosted by TMB Ventures.
“ASU is honoured to return to its hosting duties for the 2021 Women’s Collegiate National Championship,” said Ray Anderson, Vice President for University Athletics at ASU.
“To once again have the opportunity to host hundreds of competitors, staff and volunteers here in Tempe and to continue to advocate for the emerging sport is a privilege.
“We plan to build on the success and lessons learned from our previous hosting duties to deliver a first-class experience for our all participants on and off the course.”
Jenny Garrison, President of the College Triathlon Coaches Association, said “This is an exciting time in women’s collegiate triathlon. We are approaching the precipice of becoming an NCAA Championship sport, and our athletes are more eager than ever to race after persevering through the challenges of 2020.
“We look forward to experiencing a new host city in Lake George, Utah, while returning to the beautiful venues of Pleasant Prairie and Smith Mountain Lake.”
As a replacement for the cancelled 2020 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon season, USA Triathlon held an abbreviated spring 2021 season that included the Clermont Draft-Legal Challenge (Clermont, FL) on March 6-7; the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon (Sarasota, FL) on March 13-14; and the Hyco Lake Triathlon (Semora, NC) on April 17.
The events served as an opportunity for regional and national competition between varsity teams, but did not serve as qualifiers for the autumn/fall 2021 National Championships.
Deemed an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, triathlon has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA Championship sport by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs by 2024.
To date, 37 schools offer triathlon at the varsity level for women, including nine at the NCAA Division I level, 15 in Division II and 13 in Division III.
Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania (DII), was the latest school to earn its varsity status in June.
Each race on the 2021 schedule will follow the competition structure implemented in 2014 for the inaugural season, with a maximum field of 75 women racing on a draft-legal, sprint-distance course (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run).
The top eight NCAA varsity teams in DI, DII and DIII, based on team rankings at the end of the regular season, will earn an automatic National Championships qualification for a maximum of seven athletes.
The top 20-ranked individual varsity athletes per division, who are not already qualified as part of a team, will also earn a spot at Nationals.