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Tremaine Gives Triathlons a Try

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Tremaine Gives Triathlons a Try

Tremaine finishes the 750 meter swim in the Junior National Triathlon that took place in Westchester, Ohio.

Tremaine finishes the 750 meter swim in the Junior National Triathlon that took place in Westchester, Ohio.

Tremaine finishes the 750 meter swim in the Junior National Triathlon that took place in Westchester, Ohio.

Tremaine finishes the 750 meter swim in the Junior National Triathlon that took place in Westchester, Ohio.

Jonah Park, Managing Editor

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Swim, bike, run. Triathlons are a true test of athletic endurance and versatility. Senior Emmè Tremaine has been competing in triathlons for only seven months, but she has climbed the national rankings rapidly.

Tremaine was introduced to triathlons in February. She has always been a runner, competing for BV West’s cross country and track teams, but a broken cuboid bone during her sophomore cross country season changed that.

“I didn’t take any breaks when I was supposed to and I ended up breaking my cuboid which put me in a boot,” Tremaine said. “I couldn’t compete my junior year cross country or my sophomore year of track. I was out for almost a year. It was terrible. I’m a really active person too. Not being able to train or do anything for a long time was really, really bad.”

Recovery was a long and difficult process for Tremaine, but she soon found a new passion through her physical therapist, who also happened to be a triathlon coach. Swimming offered a low-risk, non-impact alternative to running, while still retaining its health benefits.

“My physical therapist had found out I was looking at swimming my junior year for West. It’s non-impact,” Tremaine said. “He is actually a coach for a triathlon team down in Dallas and they were looking for another female athlete for their junior elite national team. So he had me try out and that’s what started it all. I wasn’t really looking for triathlons necessarily, but I really love running and swimming. I knew it was a perfect fit right when he told me.”

Tremaine’s therapist, BJ Leeper, knew she had the athleticism to compete in triathlons, but was not sure if she would approach it eagerly.

“At the time, I don’t think triathlons had even been on her radar,” Leeper said.

“I knew that a strong swimming background coupled with a running background was a great recipe for potential to be a good triathlete. So, I planted the seed and asked Emmè if she had ever considered triathlon. She didn’t take me up on it at the time and maybe thought I was slightly crazy, but I guess it stuck in her head because the next year she reached out to me and asked if I would coach her.”

Soon after her full recovery, Tremaine began training. Although the rest of her new team resided in Dallas, she was still expected to do the workouts provided to her by a program called TriDot, which is also an app. TriDot tracks and records heart rate and workouts done by its user; after the workout, this data is sent to Tremaine’s coaches.

“My workouts are given to me through TriDot which is an intensified training program,” Tremaine said. “Some days I’ll have what are called ‘brick workouts.’ Some days I’ll have a bike and run, or a swim and a run, or a bike and a swim. And some days it will alternate between a hard swim workout or a hard bike or a hard run.”

Tremaine progresses through the 20 kilometer bike ride.

In her second triathlon, Tremaine qualified for nationals. To qualify, an athlete must be ranked as one of the top 75 competitors in the nation for their age group. She qualified in a sprint triathlon that consists of a 750 meter swim, a 20 kilometer bike and a five kilometer run.

“I didn’t think I was going to do it but I ended up doing it which was really exciting,” Tremaine said. “In my second race ever I was able to do it, and I think it was because I had my coach, who is really smart. He was really dedicated to getting me to nationals if I was wanting to go.”

Tremaine competes for a team called Tri4Him in Dallas. The team’s coach, Jeff Booher, only gets to see her once or twice a month, but she made a positive impression on him through her racing and training.

“[Tremaine] is very competitive,” Booher said. “For her being able to qualify nationally in her second race ever is a really big deal. Triathlons are extremely competitive, but Emmè was able to overcome the odds.”

Tremaine hopes to take this competitiveness in triathlons with her for as long as she can. Even though she is  relatively new to triathlons, she has committed herself, hoping it will help her to college and beyond.

“Triathlons are not a very big thing in the college world,” Tremaine said. “Arizona State [University] right now is the only D1 school giving full rides for triathletes, so they’re at the top of my list. I think by January there’s supposed to be 40 new colleges that are adding triathlons to their programs. By the time I should be picking my school there should be a lot more options.”

After college, Tremaine hopes to continue doing triathlons. Eventually, she wants to complete an Ironman: a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a marathon 26.2 mile run.

“I want to do an Ironman when I turn 21,” Tremaine said. “That’s my goal… I plan on this being a lifelong sport. I’d say I have a good 30 or 40 years left in me, hopefully.”

Tremaine is currently training six and sometimes seven days a week. She has her sights set on reaching an even higher national ranking.

“We put in a lot of hard work and I ended up making it this past year,” Tremaine said. “So I’m hoping to get an even higher placement next year to go to nationals again.”

Whether she is competing in the junior national triathlon or recovering from an injury, Tremaine is always open to new challenges, running (and swimming and biking) at them head on.

In the last portion of the race, a five kilometer run, Tremaine strides toward the finish line.


photos courtesy of Emmè Tremaine

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