By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
The triathlon season is still young, but the Grand Canyon University Triathlon Club is already starting strong.
At the Peoria YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Nick and Jake Windauer finished first and second overall, respectively, in the men’s division, while freshman Kirsten Fotieo earned second overall in the women’s division. Nick finished with a time of 1:00:13, while Jake was just over two minutes behind at 1:02:27. Fotieo was only 28 seconds behind first with a time of 1:17:00.
“The training has been working well for all of us,” Jake Windauer said. “We’ve been hitting our running and swimming really hard. It’s really upped our competition and has made everyone really happy so far.”
Nick and Jake tied for first in the three-mile run with times of 18:56. Nick finished first overall in the 12-mile bike ride at 32:21, and second in the 625-yard swim at 8:56. Jake took second in the bike with a time of 33:26, and fourth in the swim at 10:05.
Both Nick and Jake were the only two competitors to finish in the top 4 in all three disciplines.
“It’s always fun to race each other,” Jake said about his brother. “Every race is really fun because you get to see who steps up and who wins that race. He (Nick) had a really good ride, so I had to watch him get away, which was a bummer. But it’s fun to race together and push each other.”
In the women’s division, this was Fotieo’s first triathlon of the season. She finished fourth in the run and fifth in the bike, but was first in the swimming with a time of 9:18 – the only sub-10-minute time of all competitors.
Fotieo, a psychology major, raced cross country and swimming in high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was on the varsity team all four years. Going into the race, she knew what her strengths were, but didn’t have any set expectations for her first meet – making the second-place finish a pleasant surprise.
“I went in knowing what I was capable of, but I didn’t know if I could do all three disciplines together,” Fotieo said. “I knew I was capable of doing well, but was not expecting to get second place.”
The Lopes are next on to the Havasu Triathlon in Lake Havasu on March 17. The race is also part of the Mountain Collegiate Conference Regional Championships, so there will be a step up in competition with other schools from around the west. GCU will bring close to 10 athletes to the race, and for some, it will be their first race of the season. Regardless of the added challenge, the preparation will have very little change.
“We go over a lot of transition and technique stuff in practice,” Jake said. “It’s a lot of stuff to iron out so that going into raceday, we have a perfect, confident mix of athletes.”
Added Fotieo, “When I practice, in my mindset, I put myself in the race. Recently, it’s been a little scary knowing I’ll be up against others who are really good, but I’m excited for it.”