Triathlon class looks to go the distance


Stevie Chow

Jake Patterson, left, and Sam Barton swim laps at the DVC pool during the triathlon training class on March 28, 2011. (Stevie Chow/The Inquirer)

Gerardo Recinos

Diablo Valley College’s course catalog has a few hundred classes in it, from basic mathematics to writing classes. And of course the triathlon class.

You start with a 400-yard swim, then go straight into a 12-18 mile bike ride with a seamless transition into a 3.1 mile run. Triathlons test endurance in athletes, pushing their bodies to the furthest limit.

But all you need to join the class is to have a bicycle, be able to swim at least two laps in an Olympic-size pool, and be able to run around the block.

Lisa Ward, a National Champion swimmer, teaches the class, which meets spring semester to begin training. Ward doesn’t just teach the class, while she says that swimming is her specialty she also tries to do at least one triathlon a year.

The class has a diverse group of students from all walks of life.

“We have students from 18-55. You work to your own ability. I had people who could only get across the pool twice at first,” Ward said.

Judy Kranzler, who is a part of the older group, joined the class and is enjoying improving her athletic skills.

“I don’t so much like the competition,” Kranzler says.” But I like biking and swimming and wanted to do them better,”

The class is made up of mostly athletes who don’t currently compete in other sports; however, Ward says that at times she does get athletes who play other sports, looking for a challenge and a way to condition in a more physically demanding way. Ward usually gets anywhere from 18 to 30 students in her class.

“I’ve taken the class a few times,” says student Robert Wiersma. “It’s stuff I always do anyway, so I come out and exercise and hang out with people.”

The class is great for anyone who has basic athletic skills, no matter how rough the slate, the aim of the class is to help a student accomplish a task that not many can say they have.

The triathlon class is a 2- unit class that will be on the DVC course catalog only for spring semesters, meeting for an hour and 50 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.