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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M triathlon eager for prospective spring competitions


Texas A&M triathlon has dealt with canceled competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of not being around each other as a team for two consecutive semesters.
Team members said it’s been difficult to recapture their chemistry and bond as a group after adjusting their program following Texas A&M Rec Sports’ ban on travel for the fall semester. The organization hasn’t competed since A&M went online in the spring, so they’re eager to get back out and race as a group when the calendar flips to 2021.
Senior and club treasurer Sophie Mullens said the team’s chances to compete in 2021 depend on the university’s travel ban.
“From what we’ve been told, it’s really a university decision,” Mullens said. “It’s a matter of are we allowed to travel because right now no organizations can travel. I’m really hoping that we can get to go in the spring because I don’t want to miss another year; it would be really sad.”
The team has been practicing and doing workouts in “cohorts,” small groups made up of 10 or fewer members. Although different from the team’s standard practice format, junior Kassi Porche said the cohorts allow the team to stay socially distanced during practice.
“We do a couple practices a week together, but we still have to social distance and stuff,” Porche said. “We also have to log everyone in before practice, so it’s just the 10 of us or however many people go that day.”
Junior and social officer Kirk Niekamp said they have certain rules to follow when it comes to mask-wearing during their cohort workouts.
“We have to wear a mask while we bike, and while we’re swimming, we have to wear a mask anytime we’re not in a pool,” Niekamp said.
Mullens said the team has been doing online Zoom socials and other online events, but people seem to not be as eager to participate because of the fatigue of doing everything online.
“We do try to have socials over Zoom, but it’s kind of difficult because the turnout isn’t too great,” Mullens said.
Mullens said if this semester were normal, the team would be in the thick of training and preparing for an annual race.
“In a normal semester, we do three or four races, and we’re at the end of October right now, so, in about two weeks, we would’ve had one of our races out in San Antonio,” Mullens said.
Not only has Mullens witnessed the shift in practice format, but her role with the team has also changed. As the treasurer, Mullens deals with the team’s travel expenses, but with no competitions, her role is a little less involved.
“In a typical season, we’d be going to several races a semester which I’d be doing the payments for because we get the rental cars, gas and any housing that we need,” Mullens said. “Normally I would probably have more things to do, but there’s still the monthly things that are always going to be there like fees and dues.”
Porche, who is in charge of the team’s apparel, said her role of getting everyone their uniforms has also been affected by the cancelation of competitions.
“Usually I buy uniforms for all the new people, and I haven’t done that yet because no one’s racing,” Porche said.
In order to keep motivation up, Porche said she and another team officer are putting on a virtual race next month for the team to take part in.
“The no competition thing makes it kind of sad, but me and another officer, Lizzie Sexton, are putting together this virtual race on Nov. 14 to try and let everyone race even though we can’t all be together,” Porche said.

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