Sports

Heather Lendway ’06: Mac Grad becomes USA Triathlon Champion

On Aug. 10, Heather Lendway ’06 won the 2013 USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance National Championships held in Milwaukee, Wis. Lendway was an All-American in distance freestyle swimming and a three-time MIAC champ. By winning Nationals, she qualified to participate in the World Championships next August in Edmonton, Canada. She is currently an assistant for the women’s swimming and water polo teams.

So how exactly did triathlons become an option? Obviously you have to have an extensive swimming background.

I started swimming when I was eight and continued swimming and playing water polo during my time at Macalester. In the offseason, which really wasn’t a long time, I ran to stay in shape. After college, I took a four year break from swimming and coached for a while, but got back into actual swimming a few years ago. Since college, it’s been running and swimming to stay in shape. Currently, I volunteer as a water polo and swimming coach for Mac. I help out when I can and playing water polo is really for pure enjoyment. It’s great to still be involved at Mac. I really love Div. III athletics.

You had two of three covered! How did biking enter into the fray?

I live in Mac-Groveland and work in St. Paul. Some friends suggested I start biking. I also don’t really like the whole commuting process and biking seemed like the best option to get to work. So I bought a road bike and started to consistently bike to work.

From your experience is it safe to assume that swimming is your favorite part of the race?

Funny you ask. A lot of people assume that. I often find that halfway through the swim, I really want to be on the bike.

Have you mainly been doing triathlons locally or have you been traveling a lot to participate in races?

I really haven’t had to travel too far. Minnesota has a great tri-community, and I’ve done most of my races in-state and in Wisconsin. On Saturday, I’m actually doing the Leadman 125, a half Ironman in Bend, Ore. From what I hear, once you go to Bend, you are going to want to move there so I’m preparing [laughs].

That should be awesome! So what’s next for you?

My first race was last July, so it’s still a bit new. In the spring, training got more intensive. Nationals was my third “Olympic race,” but I’ve done 13 races total. After nationals at the amateur level, I theoretically have the option to go pro, but there isn’t any major benefit to me in doing that. The Olympics aren’t really something on my radar. My main focus is just to train hard for World’s next summer and just focus on each part of the race and improve.

September 20, 2013

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