Nick Windauer leads pack of Lopes with 16th-place finish at Tritonman Triathlon in San Diego
By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director
With some fighting ‘first triathlon’ jitters, and others fighting the pratfalls of triathlon, the Grand Canyon University Triathlon Club’s first foray into triathlon competition for the 2018 was an extremely satisfying one. Four Lopes made the trip to San Diego, California, for the Tritonman Triathlon, and all four gave memorable performances in their own way, led by Nick Windauer’s impressive 16th-place finish at the event. The event was the first on an eight-race schedule for the 2018 spring semester for GCU.
Windauer made the trip down Interstate 8 to California along with his twin brother, Jake, as well as junior Spencer Crouder and the Lopes’ lone female triathlete at the event, sophomore Faith Savoia. The Windauer brothers, who are the original organizers of the GCU Triathlon Club and are usually the forerunners in each race, wasted no time setting the pace. Nick Windauer’s swimming prowess came to the forefront to start the race as he stayed with the lead pack throughout, exiting the water just eight seconds behind the leader. Jake Windauer, who is the first to usually admit that the swimming portion is his weakest part, actually set a career-best mark for himself in the water, finishing the swimming portion less than a minute behind Nick and the leaders. Nick used the four laps on the bike to keep the race leader in his sights, while Jake tried to make up ground until the fourth lap, when his bike tire blew, forcing him to run with his bicycle the final ¾ of a mile of that leg and lose valuable time.
Speaking of shattering personal bests, GCU’s Spencer Crouder took his place among the most competitive in the collegiate field in San Diego by crushing his previous Tritonman best by a whopping 17 minutes. One of the original members of GCU Triathlon Club, Crouder showed why being in the club paid off over the last year, nailing the swim portion in just over 11 minutes, and finishing strong with a run of just under 20 minutes. Crouder finished 116th overall in the collegiate men’s division with an impressive time of one hour, ten minutes and 45 seconds.
“His steady improvement shows how beneficial his training has been,” remarked Jake Windauer about Crouder’s performance. “It takes mental toughness and strong legs, and Spencer has the perfect mix to become one of our best athletes.”
Finally, GCU’s Faith Savoia-who’s known on the team for her positive attitude and commitment to the training program-fought pre-race jitters as she came to San Diego with the goal of finishing her first triathlon ever. Savoia’s anxiety at the start helped her with a fast swim time of just over 12 minutes. The California native followed that up with a strong time on the bike of just over 45 minutes. In the end, with her teammates cheering her on, Savoia achieved her ultimate goal, hitting the tape with a time of one hour, 28 minutes and 39 seconds.
While the four-person contingent was just a fraction of the athletes currently on the team, Jake Windauer was the first to point out how much of a stake the rest of the team had to do with the quartet’s success at the event.
“Our showing there made an impact in the collegiate division, and shed light on how fun and exciting it s being a member of his club,” Jake said. “It also highlighted for our athletes like Faith, who are also trying to accomplish their first triathlon, that the training really does pay off. We want to use this race as a benchmark for our future training.”
That training begins again in preparation for the team’s next big event: the Collegiate Conference Regional Championships at the Havasu Triathlon March 17th in Lake Havasu. The Lopes expect to send at least 10 of their triathletes to the event.
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