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Arizona triathlon holds first practice ahead of inaugural season

@aztriathlon / X

The Arizona women’s triathlon team held its first-ever practice Friday ahead of its inaugural season.

The team held swimming training at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, which houses Arizona’s men’s and women’s swimming programs. Swimming makes up one section of a triathlon, along with running and cycling.

Arizona head coach Wes Johnson said Tucson provides an exciting environment and culture.

“I’m super grateful for how welcoming everyone has been and super helpful,” Johnson said. “There is somebody to help me on literally everything I need. That’s what it takes to build a program like this and a successful, championship team.

“We’re really excited to have all of the resources we have, and that’s what’s made this so rewarding for me is having so many incredible people involved.

The team has approximately two weeks to prepare for its first meet of the season, the ASU Tri Meet in Tempe on Sept. 2. The Wildcats will also compete this season in the Battle of Forth Worth on Sept. 16 and the Western Regional Championships on Oct. 14 in Springfield, Michigan.

NCAA Championships are held Nov. 11 in Tempe.

Arizona’s inaugural roster features athletes from around the world. Four women are from the United States, including Ellie Tuck, a Tucson native and graduate of Salpointe Catholic High School. Other countries represented include Isle of Man, Canada, Brazil, Czech Republic, Hungary and Argentina.

The four American members of the triathlon team have previous experience competing in NCAA sports.

Tuck originally came to Arizona as a thrower in the track and field program. Grace Reeder, a senior from Asheville, North Carolina, previously swam at Iowa and Arizona. Kelly Lyn Wetteland, a sophomore from Maryville, Tennessee, swam at New Mexico and Arizona. And Lydia Russell, a junior from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, began her collegiate career as a competitive runner at Oregon and New Mexico.

“It’s super exciting,” said Russell. “I’ve been looking forward to it since March. It’s even more exciting now that it’s here. I think I didn’t even fully grasp how exciting it was going to be for everyone to be here until yesterday.”