Keelin Schlageter ’20, founder of Oak Knoll’s Triathlon Club finished first among female competitors and 17th overall among more than 150 entrants at the One More Tri event in Asbury Park earlier this month.
Joining Schlageter and finishing first in her age group (19 and under) at the September 8, 2019 event – a quarter-mile swim, a nearly 13-mile bike ride and a 5K run – was Lily Murphy ’22.
“It was a great success considering our short training and overall it was an amazing, unforgettable experience,” Schlageter said.
The race was also a personal point of pride as it raised money for Special Olympics and Schlageter had previously volunteered with some of the Special Olympians.
“It was an amazing experience because we got to race alongside Special Olympics athletes, and it raised money to fund the Special Olympics Sponsored events,” she said.
It was also remarkable that despite competing as a child, following in the footsteps of her mother, Schlageter said she had only recently resumed racing.
She also hopes to encourage her classmates to join her and Murphy in the burgeoning club.
“You never know if you will like it unless you put yourself out there. I would also say that it is a lifelong sport and a great way to stay healthy. Not many things you can do your whole life, but this is one of them,” she said.
She also described the triathlon community as one that’s welcoming and encouraging.
“Personally, it is very rewarding. You push yourself to new limits and find out more about yourself,” she said. “You don’t need to be a super athlete to participate in any way. Optimism and an open mind are all you need.”
Schlageter said they next hope to compete in the Belmar Triathlon in October, followed by some indoor events during the winter months.
In addition to enjoying the opportunity to compete, the Belmar triathlon will also raise money for Colton and Friends, a Foundation for Autism.
Oak Knoll Athletic Director Kelly Childs praised Schlageter and Murphy for pursuing the club and noted the support of Head of School Timothy J. Saburn, a triathlete himself.
“Since I joined the Oak Knoll community, Mr. Saburn and I have discussed starting a triathlon club to expose girls to this lifelong sport,” Childs said. “We are hoping more girls take interest in learning how to train for a triathlon and will be encouraging our students to step up to the challenge and find joy in the unknown.”