Bio

I am a recent graduate from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology. I am also a professional triathlete living and training in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

Personal

Born and raised in the Metro Phoenix, Arizona, where my parents, Scott and Joanie, are my top sponsors!  I have an older sister, Courtney, who is a flight attendant and speaks four languages.  My twin sister, Keely, is working for a PR firm in northern California.

As a four year old, in 1997, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the blood.  I spent 4 years in chemotherapy before being declared cancer free and finished with treatment.  I went back to the clinic every year for a decade in long term followup. Despite how young I was, the four year battle with this disease made me stronger and much more mature than my peer group.

Swimming From A Young Age

Swimming has been part of my life since I learned to swim at age 5 from the same coach, Joe Phillips, who taught my Dad when he was 5.  Dad was a high school and college All-American, and his grandparents were state champions in freestyle in California and Colorado.  It’s in my genes!

From the summer rec league for the country club, through USA club swimming, and onto high school swimming, I have always been a freestyler, first, with individual medley a close second.

I attended Brophy Prep, Arizona’s Jesuit High School.  Brophy has won 34 state titles in swimming and diving, including 28 in a row through  2015.  Although I would have been a star on any other high school team in Arizona, at Brophy, I couldn’t crack the state championship team, which comprises the fastest 4 guys in each event.  By senior year, it was getting pretty frustrating still being 5th on the depth chart in all my events.  I was ready to quit swimming when my parents suggested I try a sprint triathlon, using a borrowed bike.

The First Triathlons

My dad was still swimming for exercise and decided with his practice group to attempt an Alcatraz swim in 2008.  He knew I could handle it, so he had me join the group.  In a field of about 600, we each won our age groups, and I was third overall.  I loved swimming in open water.  I went back in 2009, and won the whole thing, 1st overall, and got mentioned in the Weekend Edition of the Wall Street Journal.

In 2010, my triathlon debut was a reverse sprint event on Thanksgiving Day.  This triathlon started with the run, then the bike, and ended in the pool.  This way, the field would be spread out before the swim, and not be so crowded in the pool.  When I was one of the first few runners into T1, my Dad figured we were onto something.  I managed to finish in the top 10% overall that day and had found my new sport.

I did a couple more sprint races, but did not enter my first Olympic distance race until the Tempe International in May, 2011.  My fitness would be tested at the longer distance.  Without a solid race plan, I went out like a rabbit on the swim and the bike, then died on the run.  I ran close to an hour that day for my 10k.  It was hot.  I cramped from poor fueling and being under-prepared. This race taught me some big lessons.   A month later, I competed in Escape From Alcatraz, a modified Olympic course with a 1.5 mile swim, a hilly 18 mile bike course, and an 8 mile run with a huge stair climb.  I managed to place very well in a competitive field.

Maturing in the Sport

During my sophomore year at TCU, I met Brent Poulsen, my current coach, during a weekend group ride in Fort Worth.  I made the switch from my previous coach in February 2014 and it was the best decision I ever made.  Brent was able to train with me, and made a fantastic training partner, while being a superb coach.  Brent raced as a pro on the ITU circuit, as well as some 70.3’s, for about a decade through October 2015, when he announced his retirement from triathlon.  It will be a challenge to train without him but I know I still have a running partner as he’s got his sights set on doing some big things in the running world.

TCU Tri Frogs

Also as a sophomore, I became president of the TCU Tri Frogs club team.  We are small in number, and I am the only freakishly dedicated triathlete in the group.  We are, for the most part, recreational athletes and students trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  A race now and then keeps us honest in that regard.  I coach the team from on deck at swim sessions and organize weekly rides and runs.  I’ve also done volunteer work with the local YMCA, coaching little guys and gals in swimming, and helping them learn why they might like triathlons as they get older.  I also worked as a lifeguard for three years, and as assistant coach for a country club swim team which prepared me for dealing with the youngsters.

 

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