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TUCSON, Ariz. – Vice President and Director of Athletics for the University of Arizona Dave Heeke has announced the addition of women’s triathlon as Wildcat’s newest sport. Arizona will begin official triathlon competition during the 2023-24 academic year.
“After a thorough evaluation of our 21-sport model, we are excited to add women’s triathlon as our newest program as we continue to fulfill our Wildcat Way mission of developing academic, athletic and life champions,” said Heeke. “Triathlon is a growing NCAA sport that is enormously popular locally in southern Arizona and nationally across the country. Additionally, our community is a leading training ground for triathlon, making it an ideal addition to our department. This announcement comes as we celebrate the historic anniversary of Title IX, and I look forward to seeing Arizona Women’s Triathlon grow as another source of pride for the University of Arizona.”
The Arizona Athletics will begin a national search for the program’s first head coach. The program will utilize existing athletic facilities as well as local venues in Tucson.
Women’s triathlon is a fall sport, and the collegiate season includes national qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship, which takes place in November. Draft-legal races are sprint distance, with a 750-meter open water swim, a 20-kilometer draft-legal bike ride, and a 5-kilometer run. Triathlon was approved as the next emerging women’s sport for all NCAA institutions in January 2014. More than 40 institutions, at all levels of NCAA competition, sponsor women’s triathlon. Division I institutions in the region that sponsor the sport include Denver, TCU, San Francisco, and the state of Arizona. The current maximum for NCAA scholarships for women’s triathlon is 6.5.
“The addition of women’s triathlon to the University of Arizona represents an important milestone in the women’s collegiate triathlon movement,” said Rocky Harris, CEO of USA Triathlon. “The state of Arizona is a world-renowned triathlon haven. With access to a variety of trails and roads that offer high-quality training year-round, the school is sure to attract top student-athletes. USA Triathlon is delighted to see increased competitive opportunities for student-athletes at the NCAA Division I level – more opportunities will help propel collegiate triathlon competition to the highest level.”
The women’s triathlon is the first new sport for Arizona since the addition of beach volleyball, which began competing in 2014. The 22North Dakota The Arizona Athletics-sponsored program provides the department with 13 women’s sports, placing Arizona among the Pac-12 Conference leaders in the number of women’s varsity sports sponsored.
Fall 2022 – National Head Coach Search
Spring 2023 – National Student-Athlete Recruitment
Spring 2023 – Fall Schedule
September 2023: the official competition season begins