There has long been a calling for TCU Athletics to add more sports — with softball and men’s soccer generally viewed as the favorites. The Frogs will be adding a new sport in the near-future, but in a surprising twist, it will be women’s triathlon that is next up in Fort Worth.
TCU will begin competition in women’s triathlon in Fall 2021 and become the first school in Texas with the sport, as well as the first school in the Big 12 Conference to offer it. A national search will begin this spring for the program’s first head coach.
According to a press release earlier Wednesday, the addition of women’s triathlon allows TCU to continue to meet Title IX gender equity compliance requirements. TCU’s other recent women’s sports additions were equestrian in 2006 and beach volleyball in 2015.
“We are very excited to add women’s triathlon to our intercollegiate athletics program,” TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. said. “Triathlon will provide additional opportunities for our female student-athletes to participate in collegiate-level competition while enjoying an outstanding academic experience.”
Triathlon was approved in January 2014 as the next Emerging Sport for Women for NCAA Division I, II and III institutions. Women’s triathlon is a fall sport, and the varsity season includes three regional qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Races are sprint distance, featuring an open water 750-meter swim, draft legal 20-kilometer bike and 5k run. TCU will utilize a combination of campus and Fort Worth facilities for training.
“A myriad of factors go into not only adding a sport, but finding the right one for your university and athletics profile,” TCU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeremiah Donati said. “Triathlon checks all the boxes for us. We believe we also have an opportunity to immediately compete at the highest collegiate level. Additionally, we will attract new students from across the country and support our goal of providing women with more opportunities to participate in sports.
“I’d like to thank TCU Senior Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator Kim Johnson for her diligent work in this process, including site visits to other institutions sponsoring triathlon. We also very much appreciate the assistance and support of USA Triathlon.”
Thirty-four institutions currently sponsor triathlon as a varsity program with Arizona State winning the last four Division I team national titles at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships.
“We are excited and thrilled that TCU is helping grow the sport of triathlon on the collegiate level,” Arizona State Vice President of Athletics Ray Anderson said. “We look forward to the university investing in not only its own program, but the sport as a whole. When a sport is added at a school in its infant stage, it is a group effort, and we welcome TCU into our group that is intent on driving collegiate triathlon competition to the highest level.”
TCU was awarded the USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant, distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the varsity level.
“The addition of women’s triathlon at TCU represents a major milestone in the women’s collegiate triathlon movement,” USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris said. “As our first Big 12 Conference program, TCU will be a force to be reckoned with on the race course while serving as a trailblazer among Power Five Conference schools in the years to come.”