NCAA Triathlon: Why The Sport Needs a Relay
When we take a step back and look at NCAA sports a big part of what makes them so unique and special is the team component. Rather it be football, basketball, or the Olympic sports, we constantly hear how important the team culture is of championship teams. In NCAA Track and Field, one of the most exciting events is the 4x400m relay. The event is so electric, that all athletes, regardless of their specialty will get up and be screaming at their 4x400m team to try and empower them to victory. In NCAA Swimming, the 4x100 is a similar event that often decided in a close meet what team will take home the victory. even at the Olympics, many people still remember Jason Lezak's famous anchor leg in the 4x100 to help USA win gold in 2008. Why does NCAA Triathlon not have a Relay? A large part is due to the emerging status, they have focus on adding programs for the past decade. Now that the sport is near championship status, some fine tuning can be added to the "format" of the racing in order to truly make this event spectacular. Anoth reason is in the Olympics, triathlon's version of a relay is co-ed, which is not possible for NCAA Triathlon. USAT Collegiate Club Triathlon has followed the MTR model and has a Mixed Team Relay (MTR) worth a significant amount of points. Given that collegiate club has been successful with the MTR format, NCAA needs to bring this in as a additional race.
How would it work? 1. Add in a 3 member relay, in super sprint format. Each girl does a draft legal 300m swim, 7-10k bike, and 1.5-2k run before tagging their next relay member.
2. The reasoning for 3 athletes instead of 4 is this encourages compliance at the DII and DIII level and rewards each teams top-end (similar to NCAA Swimming Relays).
3. All divisions race together for the relay, but scored separately (once a single division such as DI has 25+ teams then the relay is no longer combined).
4. Weight the points enough where the relay matters, and can have some implications in the overall score which is combined with the individual scores. I have a full NCAA Triathlon points scoring blog planned for a later date. If you have any questions about NCAA Triathlon or are looking for a coach please email: firstname.lastname@example.org