The start of the 2014 triathlon season is nearing full swing and as a continuation of our Q&A with area professionals, our newest installment is with University of Arizona graduate and Austin transplant Julie Stupp. Born and raised in St. Louis, she’s the only woman in history to compete at the NCAA Championships in both swimming and track and field.
TRP: Julie, not many people know your background, please explain your experience/history collegiate swimming and track.
Julie: Haha that is a loaded question! I started swimming competitively at the age of 7 and finished my swimming career after the 2012 US Olympic Trials. In high school I swam for a club team and ran for my school team. After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Auburn University as a swimmer until 2007. After my junior year at school, I needed some time away from the small town of Auburn after one of my college coaches passed away from cancer. I decided to train in Coral Springs, Florida for the summer and that summer quickly turned in to an entire year. During that time I had the opportunity to train with an elite international squad, where 8 of the swimmers on our team competed in the Beijing Olympics.
After competing in the summer US Olympic Trials in 2008, I transferred and finished my collegiate swimming career at the University of Arizona. Due to transferring schools I had an extra semester of classes to take before I could graduate. I had always dreamed of running again after having a great experience on my high school track team, so I decided to try walking on to the track team at Arizona. Luckily I made the team and ended up qualifying for the first round of NCAA’s here in Austin in 2010. It is a crazy story but I knew even then that I loved Austin!
TRP: How has the “transition” to triathlon been?
Julie: The transition from being a swimmer to being a triathlete has been interesting to say the least. I thought I knew what a “long” run was before I started this sport and let me clarify, I still don’t know what a “long” run is! It has been a really fun transition learning to race a bike, to swim in the open water and to run “long” and hard. There is a lot of strategy involved in this sport and so far for me, that has been the most exciting part of racing.
TRP: How did your first season go in 2013?
Julie: I have been really lucky and have been able to stay healthy and injury free because of the great coaching I have.
TRP: Who has been helping you with coaching?
Julie: Derick Williamson of Durata Training is my coach and he is awesome!
TRP: Did you focus on any on anything particular – Swim, Bike, Run, Strength?
Julie: For me it is all about getting comfortable on the bike and getting some miles in my legs.
TRP: What are some goals for the 2014 season?
Julie: Triathletes like swimmers are lucky because we get to travel around the country doing what we love, while meeting great people. My goals for 2014 are simple – I want to get as much race experience as I can and have fun traveling along the way.
TRP: What race are you most looking forward to this season?
Julie: Since the sport is still so new to me, I honestly get excited about every race I am in, but I am definitely excited to race in some of the Splash and Dashes coming up this spring.
TRP: Any Particular races Around Texas on the schedule?
Julie: I will be doing the CapTex triathlon in May!
Julie: As of right now, I have no plans to leave Austin but I have always wanted to train overseas so maybe during the next off-season I can venture abroad for a month or two.
TRP: Who would win in a fight: The Auburn Tiger with the help from the War Eagle or the Arizona Wildcat.
Julie: Haha that is not even a fair question! But I have to go with my Wildcats; I think they are probably scrappier fighters. Bear Down!