Triathlon becomes UBC's newest Thunderbirds Sport Club

For the upcoming school year, triathlon will be the newest addition to the list of Thunderbirds Sport Clubs (TSC).

Triathlon TSC came to fruition due to an initiative by members of the UBC Triathlon Club — an existing AMS club. According to Florian Heinkel, marketing and communications executive for Triathlon TSC, members of the AMS club felt a need to have two separate clubs for participants of different performance and commitment levels.

“We always had a branch of people who wanted to do [triathlon] really competitively … and at the same time, we always had people really doing it just for fun,” said Heinkel. “It’s gotten increasingly hard in the last couple of years to combine that in practices.” 

As a solution to the problem, Triathlon TSC will cater more toward the competitive triathletes while its AMS counterpart will mainly serve those wishing to pursue triathlon recreationally.  

“[Triathlon TSC] is going to have a more rigourous training plan,” said Heinkel. “We ask commitment of our athletes."

Heinkel said that members can also transition from the AMS club to the TSC once they feel they’re up to the challenge.

With the executive board now in place, Triathlon TSC’s next order of business will be to recruit members and hire a coach. The club is aiming to have a team of 10 female and 10 male athletes.

“We’re going to be at Imagine Day and there’s going to be a recruiting session that week,” said Heinkel.

Another one of Triathlon TSC goal’s will be to set up an intercollegiate triathlon league. Currently, no league exists in the region for the sport.

“What we want to be spearheading … is trying to set up a collegiate league for triathlon in western Canada or potentially here [on] the west coast, even including some of the US schools,” said Heinkel. 

Down the road, Heinkel hopes that some of the club’s athletes can compete as high as the international level. In the past, triathletes from the AMS club have qualified for the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Series. Heinkel also said that the club’s goal in five years’ time would be produce an Olympic-level athlete.

Although Triathlon TSC is still in its infancy, Heinkel believes that creating a team setting in the club will enable athletes to compete at high levels.

“While [triathlon] is an individual sport, by promoting it through a team, it will be very conducive to supporting talent that we have out here,” said Heinkel.