TXK Iron Man

Freshman hopes to turn pro in triathlons


Photo by submitted photo

Freshman Grant Jarvis competes in the running portion of a recent triathlon.

Story by Tyler Snell, staff writer

He has faced medical challenges that could have changed his life forever. Running, biking, and swimming all combine to make the race that Grant Jarvis loves to compete in. The incoming freshman is a triathlete that has competed on the national level, after only competing for four years, and has made plan to go pro. It all started from just a simple question.

Describe how you got started in triathlons?
I started by doing a kids’ triathlon in 2009, so I have been competing in them for 4 years. Kirsten McCown asked me if I wanted to do it, and we trained for three months before the actual meet. I ended up doing well at the meet, and I decided that I was going to continue competing in triathlons.

What part do you find the most challenging and why?
For me, swimming is the hardest portion of the race, and, of course, the actual training part is pretty intense. Swimming is hard because I enjoy biking and running more. I actually almost stopped competing in triathlons because the swimming portion was so hard for me. I have a vocal cord dysfunction, [which makes it] harder for me to get air. I have to relax my vocal cords before every meet in order to be able to breathe during the swim portion. Also, with the swimming portion, you get smacked in the face because you are in open water. I have to swim 375 meters, bike 10 kilometers, and run 2 kilometers. All of these distances will double next year because I move up an age group. You have to love the sport just like any other in order to continue doing it.

Describe your typical workouts, and how many hours a week you work?
I practice swim with the high school team, so that is about 2 hours. But if I practice on my own, I practice about 30 minutes to an hour. For biking and running, I practice about 30 minutes to an hour also, but I do about two and a half workouts every day. My trainer is in Dallas, so she posts workouts for me on an online training site, and I can look at the workouts and give feedback to her. I also can view how many hours a week I work and how many hours for each portion.

What goals do you have in terms of going pro/Olympic someday?
One of my long–term goals is to definitely go pro someday, but after I went to Nationals, and seeing what it takes to get there, it is a lot of hard work, but I would still like to. I like to set realistic goals for myself, so I also don’t know what lies down the road. In order to become an Olympian, you have to go pro first, and I would love to go pro around 20 or 25.

What is your best memory from doing triathlons?
My best memory was at triathlon camp because I got the chance to be around people who do my sport and know what I go through. The camp was six days, and it was in Curb Hill, Texas. At the camp, you do actual workouts and strength training. You also do skill exercises, and I was videotaped to get critiqued and do more skill sets. My best memory from a meet was at Nationals in West Chester, Iowa, on August 3. When I crossed the finish line, the announcer said, “Where did Grant Jarvis come from?” In order to qualify for Nationals, you have to place in the top 20 of a cup race. You also cannot be lapped on any portion of the race or else you get disqualified. There is a limit of 75 athletes in a cup race, so you have to fight for the spots and register early. If you win Nationals, you can receive scholarships to schools.

What’s the farthest that you’ve traveled to compete in a meet? Why did you go this far? What was the meet like?
The farthest that I’ve traveled is Monroe, Wash., which is in the upper left corner of the United States. I competed in an Elite Series, and the Elite Series is the pipeline to the Olympics. There are three cup races, and this was the second one. Cup races are where you compete against the best guys in the country in your age group. It was pretty chilly there––barely wetsuit legal. The bike course at this meet was easier than other meets, and I started on my biking portion later. I still liked this meet because the course was simpler. I placed 26th at an earlier meet, placed 15th at Monroe, placed 16th at a later meet, and I placed 5th at Nationals. Swimming with the high school team has helped my swim leg get stronger, and I liked the Monroe meet because I could see my improvement.