Coaches and Board

This team would not be possible if not for the incredible efforts of the Coaches and the Board. These people embody everything that Cal Tri is about and are responsible for turning 150 people into a wonderful, close-knit family and a destructive, dominating team.

Head Coach: Dean Harper

Dean completed his first triathlon in August 1981. He won the first race he entered and has been hooked on the sport ever since.  He competed as a professional triathlete from 1982-1986 alongside the early legends of the sport—Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Scott Molina and Scott Tinley. He won the first Wildflower triathlon in 1983, and again in 1986.  He won the first USAT Long Course championships in 1983, was 8th in Hawaii in October 1982 and won several other pro races in those years. He was on the first cover of Triathlete Magazine and graced its cover one other time.

Dean started practicing law and raising a family beginning in 1987 and only competed a few times in the next 15 years, but followed the sport during those years and never gave up his subscription to Triathlete Magazine.  He began competing heavily again as an age grouper in 2003 and competed in around 80 races from 2003 to 2010. During that time, he was ranked as the top male athlete in my age group in the country 3 times. He once held 10 Tri-California age group records (including Alcatraz, Wildflower, Pacific Grove and Treasure Island), won his age group in the Long Course National Championships in 2004, the Short Course Nationals in 2008, and the Short Course World Championships on the Gold Coast in Australia in 2009. He competed in several Ironman races, winning his age group in Arizona in 2005 and was third in his age group in Hawaii in 2008.

Dean has 3 children who all swam for D1 schools, with 2 of them, Greg and Shelley, highly successful members of Cal Tri who posted the fastest swim times at Collegiate Nationals in 2013.

He has coached on and off during his years as a competitive triathlete, but is now focusing on being the best coach he can be.

Assistant Coach: John Dahlz

John “JD” Dahlz is currently a pro triathlete, the most famous John F the world has ever known, and a 28th year undergraduate pursuing a University of California, Berkeley degree in Triathlon with a double minor in Nutrition and Pacing. Recent race results suggest that he is well on his way in his studies, and will be soon pursuing advanced work in these fields. This past summer, JD placed 1st in the world-renowned Ironman Vineman Triathlon in addition to winning many other races around the California racing circuit. When you couple this with his puppy-dog personality, smile, and half Indian-half Korean genes, it is not surprising to find that JD has a massive network of connections, mostly female, in the multisport community, and they are very proud of him even when they have to patiently wait for him to recover in the med tents.  As a result of all this, El Jeffe, as he is affectionately (or infamously) known, has quite the reserve of triathlon knowledge to disperse amongst his subjects.

Besides his blossoming career in the world of pro triathlon, he is our lovely, dedicated coach. Whatever your goals may be, whether it is to one day try pacing with JD himself (he’ll bite, trip, and claw you to win – watch yourself), or just keeping fit, he is here to help you reach them. He is extremely approachable, but if you are ever nervous about meeting him, bring him a platter of Nabisco products and he’ll spend the first ten minutes telling you how awesome you are and how much he loves you.

From a slightly more factual, biographical standpoint, our coach is from South San Francisco, an alumnus of St. Ignatius Prep, and a UC Berkeley graduate with a B.A. in Political Science (in addition to those aforementioned minors) in 2008.  He is an accomplished triathlete, and his accolades include the 2009 Collegiate National Champion, a U23 National Team Member in 2006 and 2007, a U23 World Team Member in 2006 and 2007, a USAT Elite Development Team Member in 2008, and he trained at the Olympic Training Center from 2006-2007.

When he is not training, he loves reading, movies, playing the sax and coaching high school swimming. This year, he hopes to help the team “foster triathlon and working out as a lifestyle” and “win WCCTC and National Championship team titles”.  Most of all, when asked what he would like the team to know, he replied, “I heart Cal Tri <3 ;)


Assistant Coache: Seth Davis

Seth Davis is coming up on his 13th year being a Coach for CalTri, having taking the reigns in 2000-2001 after informally coaching some fast kids he met on the track and happened to be on the team. Before he knew it, Seth was coaching swimming, brick, off track runs and destination runs and eventually had no choice but to accept an official coaching role. He has been an integral part of the team’s growth from a small club sport of 20 members to a team of nearly 200. One can be sure of Seth’s all-around awesome nature as a coach and person when considering the fact that he also coached Team in Training – the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for a few years before coming to us.

Seth’s athletic story doesn’t just stop there, however. He was a former NCAA D1 collegiate runner at the agricultural offshoot of Berkeley, and where we still import all our whole milk for the Gallon Challenge from (but that’s a whole different story…) – UC Davis. He finally released his inner desire for multisport and triathlon in 1989. As if that wasn’t enough, Seth also played Water Polo on the University of San Diego club team while attending Law School there… it kinda goes without saying at this point that although he has tried hard to conceal himself in mortal form, Seth is really a superhuman on duty for the betterment of mankind here at Berkeley and on Earth.

You will find Seth at numerous team functions, including his signature Thursday Track practice. As much as you’d love to, don’t tempt him to actually run with us or you’ll find yourself trailing in the carnage he leaves behind him as he tears up the competition. I need not remind you that Seth still runs the occasional sub-3:00 marathon and has qualified for the Xterra World Championships. His ultimate goal is to get a black shirt at the Dipsea race which he has run 12 years in a row.

When Seth gets tired of all of us hooligan collegiate triathletes, he balances a day job as the Managing Partner and owner of an international executive legal search and career coaching firm. He lives near Montclair in Oakland with his wife Jill and his beaming, seven year old son Sawyer who ran 800 meters in under 6:00 minutes when he was four. Make friends with Sawyer by saying “hi” when you see him at Track, because it won’t be long before he’s barking intervals and splits with the megaphone at you!

2012-2013 Board

  • President: Varun Pemmaraju
    • Don’t worry new triathletes, Varun Pemmaraju is living proof that you don’t need to know how to swim to be a kickass competitor! With a 33 minute PR between his first two years, he dedicates himself as your President to ensure you too will make such improvements. Yes ladies, that means even you will gain the ability to chick him. Representing the miniscule Indian triathlon population hard, this fine young bachelor (or maybe not anymore… word has it that he’s going after the Curry… see below) rocks his signature hot pink speedo. Although he may be at the top of PETA’s most wanted, just one minute with his ever-so-friendly personality and angelic singing voice and it’s clear why he’s always fighting to keep the women off him. Watch out for his dark side though (no pun intended). V Nasty will tear it up on the course. That is, assuming this season his double major Comp Sci/Chem E brain will actually be able to follow the large arrows to complete a race properly…
  • Internal (Training) Vice President: Sam Schneider
    • Sam “I Am” Schneider has been a board member of the Cal Triathlon Team the last 3 years, serving as Sponsorship Chair, President, and currently Training VP. A former runner hailing from Tom Brady’s high school, Sam has acquired a notable ability in cycling, competing in cycling races in addition to his first love – triathlon. Sam was additionally one of 8 members of the team who rode from Berkeley to San Diego last winter break. The fearless navigator guided the group through the dark in Big Sur, rain in Big Sur, wind in Big Sur, and cold weather – also in Big Sur. “Papa” Schneider brings a wealth of experience to the team, especially in the latter 2/3 of the sport – his collection of bikes and questionably appropriate/sized running shorts is something that is well known by nearly everyone in this great club!
  • External (Racing) Vice President: Lydia Roth
    • Lydia “Kitty” Roth is in her fourth year at Cal and studying Economics. Originally from Michigan, she was exclusively a swimmer and water polo player. This past year, however, she saw the light and converted to triathlon, and she hasn’t looked back since. In addition to being a beast triathlete, Lydia is one of the friendliest members of the team. As social chair, she is full of great ideas to recruit new members and to promote team bonding. Whether it be skydiving or Running of the Bulls, Lydia is always willing to go on adventures and try new things.
  • Treasurer: Arthur Tonelli
    • No matter how much they try to deny it, every girl on the team secretly wishes of one day of becoming Mrs. Tonelli. As an innocent (lol right..) freshman and with upperclasswomen in the scene, this dream seemed as impossible as catching a shooting star. But now, with her inevitable departure after graduation, hope arises like the dawn of a new day. Arthur is a fourth year econ major. He hails from a land down under, and by that I mean SoCal. Before joining the team, Arthur was exclusively a swimmer. If you look at him now, you would hardly believe that he could barely finish a track workout and that he fell four times the first time he tried his clip-in pedals. If you look right into Arthur’s blue puppy dog eyes, you might think he is the nicest, most down to earth, honest person you will ever meet on cal tri. You are probably right… And lastly, don’t be fooled: even though 99.9% of Arthur’s pictures have girls surrounding him, he is in a stable bromance with Varun Pemmaraju. You can try to break these two apart, but failure is almost guaranteed. This past year, Arthur took the reigns from Erika as the swimming-in-a-kiddie-pool-of-your-hard-earned-money Treasurer, so be sure you stay on his good side (which isn’t hard). Of course, with Arthur at the helm, we can surely expect big things. Well, at least that’s what she said.
  • Sponsorship Chair: Ben Butler
  • This lanky Iowan comes to Cal Tri from a high school swimming background (yes they have swimming in Iowa). As a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student Ben has a passion for and truly understands the gear behind the sport of triathlon (ask him about training with a power meter, I dare you). As sponsorship chair he uses this profound knowledge to seek out the best equipment and get it to you at a fraction of the cost.
  • Sponsorship Chair: Blake Owens
  • A fiercely loyal friend, you can count on Blake to come through before your most stressful final or your most hectic race day with the perfect word of encouragement. As part of Cal Triathlon’s sponsorship team, he uses his spot-on communication skills to sweet-talk big, bad multisport companies into giving us all free swag! Studying Spanish and Mandarin in addition to his political economy major, the whole world may soon open up to us for sponsorship. This networking pro is sure to provide us with some sweet deals this season. Working to make the technical sport of triathlon accessible to everyone in the Berkeley community, Blake is your go-to person for the who’s-who’s in the triathlon gear world and for all your money-savin’!
  • Public Relations Coordinator: Ari Pascarella
  • Ari is an unstoppable 4th year ISF major who mentors, works in the RSF weight room, conducts studies with kids in UC Berkeley’s psych lab and routinely spreads her good vibes and cookie-scented aura everywhere. You may have already spotted her, running around, flashing some “300″ worthy abs and snapping billions of pictures. With a background in running, Ari was a complete newbie to the multisport lifestyle that is triathlon only three years ago. Since then, she has raced 8 triathlons, including this past year’s Collegiate Nationals. As our fantastic Public Relations Chair, Ari is basically a one woman cheer squad, showing up to nearly all the races, training days and social events with a camera poised and ready. Even though capturing gorgeous stills of ridiculously fast and hyper triathletes is enough of a task, she also manages Cal Triathlon’s beautifully budding public image (which seems to grow with each new National Championship!). When she’s not writing race reports, documenting the team or keeping our public sites up to date, Ari finds lots of other activities to keep her “never slow down” lifestyle going. Aside from frolicking around The Palace with 11 other Cal students, she marathon-streams loads of Netflix movies during personal trainer workouts, runs marathons, obsesses over Strava (who doesn’t?), learns random dances and visits her newly-converted-to-triathlon boo thang down in Sunny SD.
  • Apparel Director: Kristen Curry
    • Kristen is a rising junior who enjoys acting like she has no idea what a triathlon is, while simultaneously kicking most of the guy’s butts. She is an computer science/architecture double major (I tell you… these crazy Berkeley ladies…), but her true passion is learning all about Indian food.. and people ;) , as her last name suggests. By figuring out the exact spices to add to her “special curry,” she is able to give herself super human strength and fortitude, which she regularly needs during swim practices. Kristen is looking forward to being the Apparel Chair for the 2013-2014 season. It is a job that she has wanted since she was a little child. Her only worry is that she will not be able to live up to the stupendous work ethic and clever insight that the social chairs Austin Rayford and Kylie Reed will bring to the board. However, she feels that her own considerable abilities may be able to stand up to the complete awesomeness that are this year’s social chairs. Hopefully she is not proved wrong.
  • Social/Recruitment Chairs: Austin Rayford, Kylie Reed,
  • To know Kylie Reed is to have your life filled with positivity, excitement and spontaneous sci fi trivia. She represents the type of friend and team mate that you are drawn to, aspire to resemble and can always count on. She takes pride in her accomplishments from academics to athletics because she pours her heart into everything she does. Kylie is all heart. She spreads the love by looking out for her friends and follow teammates and never fails to bolster confidence in those around her with her upbeat attitude. She puts a fresh spin on the spirit that embodies Cal Tri; a trait which is often more valuable than our competitive edge. Kylie is our Social Chair and to the position she brings spunk, a fresh perspective, and awareness of our team as a whole. It is great seeing her get excited about upcoming events that will bring our team mates, new and old, together. Her welcoming nature encourages new members to feel included and a part of the Cal Tri family while her interesting and innovative ideas keep continuing members excited for what is to come. Kylie is instrumental to Cal Tri and we are proud to call her one of our own.
  • If there’s anything to be said about social and recruitment co-chair Austin Rayford, it’s that there isn’t anyone quite like him. “Work hard, play hard” is a laughable understatement when it comes to this young whippersnapper. Whether he’s dropping some of the team’s best carbon-equipped riders up Diablo on his trusty 70′s-era steel bike (although he has since then decked out in expensive plastic and become a weight weenie…ew), livening up tri camp with his boy scout experiences, hacky sacking like a pro, eating lots and lots of ice cream, or pulling at the front of a Berkeley to San Diego bike trip for literally 300 miles straight, Austin “Draino” Rayford truly thrives in all aspects of the tri team experience and is down for anything, anytime. Look no further for the right person to create a great social experience for Cal Tri!
  • Education Director: Alison Ryan
  • She hails from the land down south (Ventura to be exact), she is majoring in Political science and she loves to swim bike and run (especially those ocean swims and long runs). Her name is Alison Ryan, and she is your Director de educación for this season.Alison was abroad last semester studying in Chile, hiking around Patagonia and volunteering at an elementary school in Peru (practice your Spanish with her!) but she is back and ready to dole out some lessons in how to be a better triathlete. She comes equipped with extensive knowledge on triathlons, racing equipment, and proper nutrition. If she doesn’t have an answer to your burning question, she will refer you to an online journal article, or for the faint of heart, Wikipedia.Don’t forget to send your thoughts and feedback to her about what you want to learn this semester outside the classroom and training. Prepare to have your mind blown with this terrific Education Director.
  • Volunteer/Fundraising/Alumni Outreach Coordinator: Peter Chou:
  • Berkeley’s hottest volunteer/fundraising chair is PeChou. This 4th year  MCB major from Wisconsin is back with a well-controlled biology experiment that answers the question: “HOWWWW?!” This guy has everything: Melodic saxophone playing abilities, an endless supply of “that’s what she said” jokes, cooking skills that will knock your socks off, and high-speed motor feet (you know, it’s that thing where someone can run for hours really fast).With brilliant ideas and some serious skills in the pool, on the bike, on the run, and in everything else he does, Peter is a smart and smexy edition to this year’s board.
  • Secretary: Erin Colletta
    • You’ll be putting a little fire and spice in your life when you get to know this saucy read head. Going into her senior year is our lovely Erin Colletta, the team’s dictation-savy Secretary. Erin has eagerly dedicated herself to the journey of triathlons. Not only has she endeavored several races in her first year with team, she is also actively taking on the responsibilities of helping the team run like the well lubed (with body glide) machine that we are. Erin has taken an avid role in the Nutritional Science world that Berkeley has to offer and is surely an asset to the field. Smart and athletic doesn’t even begin to describe this caring and sweet young lady that you can’t wait to meet! Pasadena is no doubt missing this awesome chica.
  • Challenged Athletes in Triathlon: Catharina Giudice
    • Catharina has swum the three major rivers of Brazil—the Amazon, the Tigrisandeuphrates, and the Nile—and biked across the country—from the border with Ecuador to the border with South Africa. Now, she has come to California to conquer the mighty waters of Spieker and Hearst and ride the Bay Bridge all the way into San Francisco. Her secret? Music. Whether it’s tangoing into third, sambaing into second, or foxtrotting into first, the tunes are what take Cata to the top.
  • Web Master: Lauri Takacsi (