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On April 9, 12 of MIT’s triathletes traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to participate in the USA Triathlon (USAT) Collegiate National Championship against triathlon teams from all over the country. The Olympic-distance triathlon consisted of a 1,500-meter swim in the Black Warrior River, a 40-kilometer bike, and a 10-kilometer run near the University of Alabama’s campus. The MIT women’s delegation was led by Shaena R. Berlin ’13, who finished with a time of 2 hours, 39 minutes, 45 seconds. Only three spots behind her was Diana Siegel G with a time of 2:40:25. The team MVP award was given to Matthieu J. Talpe ’11, who finished the course with a blistering time of 2:14:30, the best time on the MIT team.

Despite a cold swim to start the morning, with river temperatures around 59°F at 7 a.m., the day turned to out be a warm one. The men finished their day around 9:30 a.m. with temperatures still in the high 70s, but the women started three hours later and were forced to battle heat and humidity throughout the race. As the sun climbed, temperatures rose to over 90°F and humidity remained high. Triathletes took extra hydration and energy gels to fight off cramps amid the brutal conditions. “It was the most exciting triathlon I’ve ever done, by far,” claimed first-time triathlete Samuel M. Nicaise G. Overall, the weekend was heralded as a smashing success, as all 12 MIT racers finished.

For the MIT Triathlon team, the National Championships marks the beginning of the race season after a long winter of indoor training. Many regional races continue throughout the summer, with the New England Season Opener kicking off the season on May 8 and the Northeast Collegiate Triathlon Conference season officially running from August to October.