The New Triathlon Team Already Qualified for Nationals

Millikin University athletics recently expanded its program by adding a women’s varsity triathlon team.

According to the Big Blue’s athletics page, “Millikin is the 22nd school in the nation to have a varsity women’s triathlon program when the team began competition in the fall of 2018.”

The team consists of senior Julia Peterson, who is currently out from a pre-existing injury, junior Morgan Powers, and freshmen Brigid Duesterhaus, Jaden Lockard, and Hope Roderick.

The staff for the team consists of director of swimming and head triathlon coach Dr. Molly Duesterhaus as well as assistant swimming and triathlon coach Nick Wyllie.

Although the team is brand new, there are some familiar faces within the program. Freshman Brigid Duesterhaus is coached by her mother, Dr. Molly Duesterhaus.

Brigid Duesterhaus, the youngest of five siblings, followed in her family’s footsteps when it comes to being in the water. Just like her older four siblings, she began swimming at a young age.

Brigid Duesterhaus said she “does not remember a time not swimming.” She competed in her first swimming competition when she was only three years old. “I love being in the water,” she said.

The youngest Duesterhaus is not unfamiliar with her mother’s coaching style. In fact, coach Duesterhaus has been her daughter’s swimming coach from forth through ninth grade.

Born in Tennessee, Brigid Duesterhaus moved to South Carolina when she was five-years-old. She lived there until she was 15-year-old, then moved to Decatur, Illinois. She did online learning and classes during her first year in Illinois, and then completed junior and senior year at MacArthur High School. Although Duesterhaus never quite settles down, she is okay with that. “I’m not stuck on living in one place,” she said. Mentioning she could even see herself living somewhere such as Europe for a few years down the road.

Brigid Duesterhaus is currently an exploratory major but has a great interest in art. Art “relaxes” her and she enjoys drawing, sketching, and fashion. Interesting enough, Duesterhaus made her senior prom dress. Career wise, she has thought about art therapy, which is one of the reasons she chose Millikin.

Currently, Duesterhaus is a part of both the swim team and triathlon team. When it comes to swimming, her main event is the sprint. However, she can do all four strokes as well as freestyling the 50 and 100 meters. In reality, she can do almost anything. Brigid Duesterhaus said she “really just goes where my mom puts me.”

Although Brigid Duesterhaus has been involved with swimming for years, this year is the first time she has been involved in a triathlon. The team’s first meet was at North Central College a few weeks ago. Her first meet, Brigid Duesterhaus was “lapped out” which means she had to stop the race, even though she completed 2/3 of the race.

However, the second meet for Brigid Duesterhaus and the team made up for everything. On September 16, the team competed at Watauga in Tennessee. Due to weather, the race was adjusted for safety reasons. Races consist of a 750-yard swim, a 20k bike, and a 5k run. This race, athletes swam 350-yards, biked a 10k, and ran a 2.5k. All four members of the Millikin team finished which placed the team in third (four points from second) and also qualifying all women for Nationals, which will be hosted in Arizona in November.

The Big Blue competes in Champaign for “Tri the Illini” on Sunday, September 30. Duesterhaus says she hopes to get the word out about the new team. She also hopes that “students come out and support the triathlon team like they would for a football game.” Since the upcoming meet is local and not far from Decatur, students are encouraged to go out, show support, and experience the up and coming sport.