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UM Sophomore Competes in International Triathlon

UM sophomore Elizabeth Fogarty finished 14th in the world at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam, Netherlands last month. Submitted photo

University of Mississippi sophomore Elizabeth Fogarty represented the United States last month Rotterdam, Netherlands, during the International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Grand Final.
A native of Houston, Texas, who is majoring in nursing, Fogarty finished 14th in the world after completing a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run.
“It was the craziest, most unbelievable experience ever,” she said. “This triathlon was by far the hardest tri I had ever done. I am used to competing when it is 90+ degrees Fahrenheit outside, but race morning it was 12 degrees Celsius (54 F). The water was so cold that everyone swam in wetsuits.”
Fogarty had never raced in those conditions before, which affected her time.
“My toes were frozen from the moment I got into the water until about the run portion,” she said. “The run was through a pretty park and was mostly shaded.
“The bike course itself was a very technical course. There were many curves and sharp turns. It was very difficult to keep a cruising pace because you constantly had to be completely focused and slowing down and speeding up around turns.”
Although she didn’t perform as well as she had hoped, Fogarty pushed through to complete it, knowing that her parents and friends were cheering her on, she said.
“Crossing the finish line was just the coolest thing ever. I was handed an American flag about 400 meters from the finish line, knowing that I just represented the USA. It’s still hard to believe that I am ranked 14th in the world, with only 13 girls – 19 and under – faster than me.”
Fogarty has been athletic her entire life by participating on swim and soccer teams and running cross country and track, said Susan Fogarty, her mother. Elizabeth Fogarty ran track in high school under coach Kristi Robbins, an Ole Miss alumna and runner.
“For the past couple of years, she’s been doing some fun triathlons and really has a natural talent for the sport,” Susan Fogarty said.
Elizabeth Fogarty competed in her first triathlon when she was just 14, since she was already competing separately in all three sports.
“I love being a triathlete because I enjoy every aspect of it, from training to traveling to racing,” she said. “Being a triathlete is both mentally and physically challenging, but it is always fun to test your limits and rewarding to improve and compete.”
Though she had training in high school, Fogarty has made it to the world championships through self-training and her own merit.
She decided to self-train because of her schedule, which includes coursework and jobs, Fogarty said.
“I was not sure that I would be able to commit to a coach or trainer on a daily basis because my schedule changes every day,” she said.
Over the summer, Fogarty held four jobs and would train either early morning, between jobs or late at night.
“Sometimes it was hard to stay motivated, especially when we started classes this fall,” she said. “My friends always asked me to go out with them or eat sweets and junk food.
“It was a little frustrating having to always say no, but I started saying that just as the football team can’t go out or eat unhealthy during the season, I can’t either because I am training for the biggest race of my triathlon career.”
Fogarty modifies her training each week by setting goals and making workouts to reach them.
“It’s just her drive,” Susan Fogarty said. “To make it to worlds on her own impresses me.”
In 2016, Fogarty qualified to compete in the national triathlon championships in Omaha, Nebraska. This is where she qualified to compete in Rotterdam for the world championship in Olympic distance.
Fogarty balances training with her schoolwork and plans to begin nursing school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in May 2018.
By Christina Steube

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