Team History

The California Triathlon team was founded in 1989 and has grown to become one of the premier collegiate triathlete programs in the United States.

Our accomplishments include:

  • 5 USAT Collegiate National Championships (One Overall, Four Mens)
  • Champions of the first-ever SuperSprint Mixed Relay held on US soil (Nationals 2012)
  • 9-times-in-a-row West Coast Conference (WCCTC) Overall Champions and running
  • 3 Individual Wildflower Olympic Champions
  • Over 10 professional triathletes; 5 in National Team programs at some point
  • Individual champions at races across the world including 1 age group World Champion
  • Most Spirited Team Award (Nationals 2008)

The origins of the California Triathlon team are rooted in mystery and legend, though it has finally been determined that at its inception, the team was only composed of a single-digit number of members. Triathlon was (and of course still is) a growing sport, and the team was sustained by a small but solid group of members (see Cal Tri Alum for more) for many years. Through the 1990s, there are many stories about the team and about the sport that are absolutely incredible when looked back upon. For example, there was no collegiate racing scene besides Wildflower, which served as Nationals for the very limited set of teams competing (only California schools and CU Boulder). Even at the turn of the millennium, there were only about 20 members, though this did not in any way limit the team’s success. Since 2000, however, that number exploded in response to not only these successes but also to the camaraderie and rich experience the team provided.

Our prominence is especially a product of our coaching staff, who encourage the team to treat triathlon as any other NCAA sport (currently, the governing body is USA Triathlon). The team’s growth was initially overseen by Coaches Paul ___ and Jack ___ [Alumni], who were with the team almost since the beginning.

A huge turning point for the team was when Andy Schmitz took over the coaching duties in 2006. This marked the first time in its existence that the team had a Head Coach (and all the benefits that came with it, such as a training calendar and internal organization), and the results were immediately apparent. Andy took over a team that was on the rise, as the Men’s Team had just returned from Collegiate Nationals 2006 with the Men’s Championship, as well as the record for lowest score (9) and best performance in the history of Collegiate Nationals (going 2-3-4), a record that still stands to the day. Still, the team had yet to capture the elusive Overall Championship in all its years. It was during Andy’s tenure that we finally won our first Overall Team National Championship (2008) and added two runner-up finishes (2007, 2009). And so began the making of a dynasty. Due to his other commitments with the USA National Teams, Andy had to leave his position after 2009, meaning that there was a void in the Head Coach position. Fortunately, our very own John Dahlz rose to the occasion and, just one year out of winning Nationals and graduating, he took over the coaching position. The team has thrived under JD – membership has continued to skyrocket, the team’s usual successes have continued, and Cal Tri has become an even larger force, both on campus and in the larger triathlon community.

It must be said that in spite of all the achievements and accomplishments, Cal Tri has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. It is our ambition to uphold the team’s legacy in all forms, to continue being at the forefront of the growth of triathlon as a sport and lifestyle, and to continue our ascent to becoming the most decorated collegiate triathlon program in history.

[Maybe a scrollable table with historic events in the team's history.]