USA California Students Participate in Seal Beach Triathlon
by Ethan M. Perez
Operations Supervisor/Wellness Coordinator USA-San Marcos, CA
Duane Pierce, a student at the University of St. Augustine’s (USA) California campus, was the leader and motivator for the USA team of students who participated in the Seal Beach Triathlon on October 20, 2012. Duane is not an official coach or trainer but he does come from an athletic background. He served for 21 years in the military and regularly competed in Ironman distance triathlons. Pierce is an extremely high-energized and motivated man who discovered that during the first few trimesters at the University, his physical fitness was declining due to a decrease in work-out time. Pierce made the decision to be vigilant and he committed to train for at least one race event per term. It was then it occurred to him that if he was letting his body go, there were probably other students in the same situation.
Pierce thought that USA students should set an example in the OT/PT field and strive to continually improve their health and stamina. He sought out and found a sprint distance triathlon in the area that he thought everyone, as a group of extremely busy students, could train for and complete. The Seal Beach race was seven weeks out when Pierce began posting flyers around the campus. He knew that the cost of an average sprint distance entry fee would be between $80 and $100, which could be an issue for some students. Pierce contacted the race director and negotiated a student discount for the entry fee and he also negotiated a deal with a local gym to utilize the onsite pool for a minimal fee.
Several students were weak swimmers and one had never swum before. So Pierce spent a large amount of time sharing swimming techniques along with biking techniques, running techniques and training programs that built endurance. During the training period, Pierce would tailor individual training plans to those who wanted them. He tuned up bikes, loaned equipment, held transition and gear classes, and delivered gear lists to help reduce costs and encourage spirit.
There was a large group of students initially interested but that tapered down as the race date approached. On the day of the Seal Beach Triathlon, nine students including Pierce and one significant other showed up to compete. Seven of them had never competed in a triathlon before. Everyone completed the sprint triathlon which was comprised of a 1/2 mile swim, a 10 mile bike course and a 2 mile beach sand run. The participants started at the Seal Beach Pier and swam to the San Gabriel River Jetty, then ran to the 1st Street parking lot to begin the bike leg of the event on the San Gabriel River Bike Trail, followed by a final beach sand run.
USA students who raced were Mike DeGrey, Sean Kuhn, Devon McCord, Junko Morimoto, Lauren Morris, Ann Nguyen, Gavin Ongsingco, Duane Pierce, Rob Rodriguez and Tak Wong.
This event benefited the non-profit Surfrider Foundation, whose mission is to make sure our oceans, waves and beaches are protected and preserved through a powerful activist network so that everyone can enjoy a healthy active lifestyle.
Pierce hopes to continue promoting healthy team building for every term. The word has spread and he has already been approached by other students wanting to train for the next race.