The TriVols bring “fun and camaraderie” to participants in triathlons.
The team trains under TriVols alumnus Joe Peeden through various exercises including triathlons, 5K's, 10K's, bike rides, relay races and half marathons.
Having completed several triathlons before attending UT, graduate student in energy science and engineering Alex Pawlowski experienced close connections with many student athletes through the organization.
“The sport of triathlon is one that I love immensely, and getting to train with other people to keep up the motivation in between seasons is amazing,” Pawlowski said.
New students on campus may find it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle while juggling all the other stresses of college, but the TriVols offer an opportunity to stay fit and make friends.
Club treasurer and junior in mechanical engineering Erin Brown experienced a serious injury that ended her career in competitions at a collegiate level. However, Brown found a passion for biking and swimming and eventually turned to triathlons with the TriVols.
“Health and fitness is something I’ve always been really passionate about. ... This club is a way that I can continue to incorporate fitness into my daily life and at the same time make friends and get involved around campus,” Brown said.
Pawlowski hopes that the club can shed light on the NCAA’s growing movement for women participating in triathlons. Women in the club can compete at the club level with teams in the southeast and at nationals. They can also sign up for the women’s draft-legal NCAA events as part of TriVols.
“Knoxville ... is home to a stellar and tight-knit triathlon community ... of working professionals,” Pawlowski said. “Having a visible triathlon club sport at the University helps to engage students with the greater community that extends beyond the transition area.”
According to Pawlowski, many members of the organization find that after becoming burned out in a certain activity, triathlons provide the variety and community that they are looking for in a new discipline.
“Triathlon, if you choose to commit, is very rewarding in that if you’re tired in one discipline, then you have a different range of muscles to train in the other two,” Pawlowski said.
Brown stressed the importance for campus to offer many activities.
“To me, a lot of the college experience is figuring out who you are and really stepping into that person,” Brown said. “Our club has a very welcoming atmosphere where anyone is free to be whoever they are.”
The team meets on Monday evenings to run at Bearden Beer Market; on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the TriVols are practicing in the pool. Wednesdays include cycling, and Fridays include more running at TRECS. The team does not only train and practice, but it also holds social gatherings for fun as well.
Though the organization is physically demanding, Pawlowski said the atmosphere created in the team makes it worthwhile.
“The strongest motivator to keep training in the dark hours of winter and the largest contributor to the tight-knit nature of the team has come from having fun,” Pawlowski said.
The organization welcomes students from all backgrounds, even if they do not necessarily have swimming, running or biking experience.
The experience students can gain from the organization is one that could last many years down the road, according to Brown.
“I hope our members always remember the good times we’ve had together,” Brown said. “Our team is very much like that of a family. We make friends that we’ll be able to keep from the rest of our lives.”