Welcome to the Z3 Family, Minnesota Athletes!

IMG_3490We’re excited to welcome athletes from the Minnesota Junior Elite Triathlon Team (MJET) to the Z3 Triathlon Team.

The Minnesota Junior Elite Triathlon Team (MJET) was formed by Coaches Kris Swarthout and John Shelp in 2007. The team annually has an estimated 30 athletes, ages 9-25. MJET athletes race both locally in the Midwest and nationally. Athletes have competed in both non-draft legal and ITU draft legal races, recording numerous wins and top 5 placements.

“I’m excited for MJET athletes to join the Z3 Triathlon family,” commented Kris Swarthout, founder of the MJET team. “The merging of our two teams will serve to further strengthen triathlon in the United States by providing excellent programming and access to quality coaches for Minnesota athletes.”

Swarthout has served as the head coach of TEAM USA triathlon squad since 2010, and has travelled the globe to world triathlon championship events. He will serve as the head coach of the Minnesota satellite of Z3 Triathlon Team, which will be based in the Minneapolis metro area.

“The partnering of Z3 and MJET is a perfect match,” added Jenny Weber, head coach and founder of Z3 Triathlon. “I’m excited to add the talented roster of MJET athletes to the Z3 family. It’s also going to be a fantastic opportunity to work directly with one of the best coaches in the country, Kris Swarthout.”

The announcement was made at the MJET end-of-year celebration in Minneapolis. Approximately 30 people attended. The guest speaker was ITU World Champion Gwen Jorgensen!

Do you live in Minnesota and want to get involved with a great triathlon development program? Email info@z3triathlon today!



Q&A: Jenny Weber and Tamara Gorman talk all things WTS Hamburg


On Saturday, July 12, Z3 athlete Tamara Gorman will race in her first Elite World Triathlon Series race in Hamburg, Germany. We had a chance to sit down with Tamara and Coach Jenny Weber to discuss Tamara’s preparation for Hamburg and her future as an elite athlete!

Z3: Jenny, how long have you been coaching Tamara and how did the coaching relationship begin?

Jenny Weber: I have been working with Tamara since early 2010. She became interested in the team hearing about it from another Z3 athlete in Rapid City at the time  – Tony Smoragiewicz. She and her brother, Brian, made Z3 in 2010 together.

Z3: When did Tamara become elite?

JW: Tamara earned her elite card by winning Junior Worlds in London last September, 2013.

Z3: Will Tamara race any other elite events this year?

JW: That is to be determined. Right now our plans include her first debut WTS race in Hamburg. She was successful at her first elite race earlier this year in Sarasota, placing 3rd. Right now we’re focused on the Junior World Championships in late August, and we will see about extending her triathlon season into the fall to include more elite racing to earn points.

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The Road to the ITU Triathlon Chicago: Alex Libin’s first reactions to Chicago

Yesterday, Alex gave us a little more insight on his reactions to: the sheer busyness of Chicago, the logistics of racing in a WTS event, the women triathlon race, and staying loose before a major race. Please cheer on Alex today at 4:30pm for the men race. Stream here: https://triathlonlive.tv/

Yesterday morning started out with a little bit of a wild bike shake out. Decided to try my luck riding the Lake Shore bike trail rather than deal with the stop lights on the city streets. Not sure which would have been the better choice, the bike path was packed with joggers, other cyclist, dogs and anything else you can imagine. So I gave up on that idea and found a nice deserted stretch of road on Navy Pier to open up the legs. After throwing the ride onto Strava (a running and cycling GPS), turns out I got the KOM (king of the mountain) to boost!

After a breakfast very similar to yesterdays, I packed up my room and got ready to move down the hall into a new room. This was all part of the logistics I have to juggle, however it gave my breakfast a chance to settle so that I could go do my dynamic run drills. The great thing about Chicago is all the parks; it was easy to find an open grassy field to get my drills done. Even better because I got to watch a pick up cricket game going on, still can’t tell you what was going on, but it was fun to watch.

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The Road to ITU World Triathlon Chicago: A day with Alex Libin

With just two days to go until the ITU World Triathlon Series in Chicago, Z3 athlete and coach Alex Libin was kind enough to give us a first-hand look at race familiarization day for the Elite Men!

imageI woke up this morning to another cool and foggy day in Chicago; it feels more like Seattle at this point. I went for a little jog and a quick look at the course set up. I couldn’t really see too much, but I did get a chance to look at the narrow two-person-wide exit ramp that we will be using for the swim. There’s going to be a log of congestion there!

I ran around the Shed Aquarium and finished up back at the hotel where I was lucky enough to grab some breakfast with the USAT mechanic, “Sherpa,” who has a suite on the 24th floor of the hotel. The suite allows him to fit all the bikes in his room, but even more importantly, it comes with free breakfast! Read more

The Road to the ITU Triathlon Chicago: Q&A with the Libin

We were lucky enough to catch up with Z3 athlete and coach Alex Libin in the midst of his preparation for the ITU World Triathlon Series in Chicago to get his thoughts on all things WTS!

Libin2Z3: When did you hear that you would compete in WTS Chicago and how were you chosen to compete?

Alex Libin: I found out I was doing WTS Chicago a week before the race. I nominated myself for the race, knowing it would it be a bit of a long shot for me to get in. But somehow it worked out and now I’m going!

How did the short notice affect your training?

It basically meant that I would immediately go into a taper week. My training for this race probably isn’t ideal because it hasn’t been something that I’ve been working towards or focusing on for the last several weeks. But that’s the way ITU racing is sometimes and when you get the call you just have to step up and be ready to compete with the best that you can bring.

What will be your biggest challenge in this race?

The logistics of the race are a bit tricky. I also have no USAT funding for this race so while most of the athletes will be at hotels right on the race venue, I will be at a homestay 30 minutes outside of the city, so there will be a lot of driving to and from the race site in the days leading up to the event. Really, I just don’t want to miss a meeting or get my homestay’s car towed for not parking correctly in downtown Chicago!

Hopefully you’ll remain ticket-free! Do you have any personal goals with regards to placing or goal times?

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The Road to the ITU Triathlon Chicago: About the Race

An estimated 75,000 spectators are expected to attend the fifth of eight 2014 World Triathlon Series (WTS) races this weekend in Chicago, Illinois. The series showcases 130 of the world’s best elite triathletes (65 elite men and 65 elite women) competing against each other in a draft-legal, Olympic-distance (1,500-meter swim, 40-km bike, and 10-km run) race hosted by the International Triathlon Union (ITU).

wts chicago Entering its fifth year, the 2014 ITU WTS has already held races this year in Auckland, NZL; Cape Town, RSA; Yokohama, JPN; and London, ENG. The series will hold the remainder of the races in Chicago, IL; Hamburg, GER (July 12-13); Stockholm, SWE; and wrap the series up with the WTS Grand Finale in Edmonton, CAN. Chicago is the third US city to host an ITU WTS race (San Diego, 2012 and 2013, and Washington D.C., 2009). Furthermore, Chicago is also scheduled to be next year’s host for the 2015 ITU WTS Grand Finale race; the first ever US city to do so.

Gwen Jorgensen, the 2012 Olympian and No. 1 women triathlete this year on the WTS circuit spoke on Chicago hosting these races in the ITU article, “Chicago to Host 2014 ITU WTS race and 2015 Grand Finale.” Jorgensen said, “Competing at a WTS race in the USA is like having a home-court advantage – all the fans are cheering for you. It’s an amazing experience, and something that pushes all of the U.S. athletes further than we think possible”.

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The Road to ITU World Triathlon Chicago: Meet Alex Libin

LibinAs Alex Libin dove into the cool waters of Pleasant Creek Lake, he never imagined that he was beginning a race that would continue far beyond the finish line of the small Pigman Sprint Triathlon. A race that would push him mentally and physically further than he ever thought possible; providing him with his highest highs and his lowest lows.

Seven years later, he can begin to see the finish line.

Libin is less than a week out from the biggest race of his young life, the ITU World Triathlon in Chicago, the only US stop on the eight-city World Triathlon circuit. “That is the end-all dream,” Libin said in a 2013 interview. “Do all the major races and train in Europe, it’s the center of the draft-legal world. That would be incredible.”

Libin began his racing career in 2007, doing mostly XTERRA offroad triathlons. In 2008, after graduating from Valley High School in West Des Moines, IA, he attended the University of Iowa, where his short-lived triathlon career seemed to end as quickly as it had begun. “I took a bit of a hiatus when I started college and steadily got back into the sport starting in 2010,” Libin said.

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Naughton, Killeen to compete at Duathlon World Championships


Rebecca Naughton


Caroline Killeen








Two Z3 athletes will be competing in the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain on June 1. Caroline Killeen and Rebecca Naughton will represent Team USA in the 16-19 Age Group Sprint race, which will begin with a 5-kilometer run, followed by a 20-kilometer bike ride and 2.5-kilometer sprint to the finish.

Naughton and Killeen qualified for the World Championships at the Duathlon National Championships in Tucson, Arizona last October, where they finished in third and fourth place, respectively. “My parents and I didn’t make the decision to race at Worlds until December after we had several conversations with Coach Jenny,” Killeen said. “We wanted to make sure this was going to be a good fit for me and support my goal of racing as an elite triathlete. Once the decision was made for me to race in Spain, I cried.”

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Trip to Collegiate Triathlon Mecca: Z3 at USAT Collegiate Nationals

For the past two years USAT Collegiate Nationals has been hosted on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. More than 100 collegiate teams compete and over 1200 athletes are part of the event.

This year’s theme was “Mustachionals” as in – all the guys (and some of the gals) were decked out in mustaches. Nationals features a draft-legal event on the first day, followed by an Olympic distance non draft-legal event and mixed team relay the next. Everyone converged for a post race awards banquet.

“This past weekend’s experience at Collegiate Nationals was awesome! So much energy and passion rolled into one race. The competition was fierce and it felt great to be apart of such a talented field of athletes. It feels great to be back in the sport of triathlon again, I’m looking forward to this upcoming summer of racing and learning even more about this unique and continuously growing sport.” ~ Brian Gorman (@briangorman1650)

“My favorite part of collegiate nationals would have to be the Mixed Team Relay. Being the final event, it was a great send-off for an already incredible weekend in Tempe, AZ. Toeing the line with so many great athletes, I couldn’t help but feel the intensity and excitement from the fans and teammates cheering everyone on. It was an amazing experience I will never forget!” ~ Connor Dilger (@Connor_Dilger)

“I loved the excitement in the atmosphere. So many different schools coming together to do what we love.” ~ Erin Paradis (@Erin_Paradis)

It was fun. It was exciting. Lot’s of cheers. Weird costumes. Mucho swim, bike and run! It’s something every athlete should attend. Take a look at some photos from Z3 athletes who competed – Erin Paradis (Colorado State), Brian Gorman (University of Minnesota) and Connor Dilger (University of Iowa).

A Few Words with Tamara Gorman


March 21, 2014

We had a chance to visit with Tamara Gorman, Rapid City Stevens senior and Z3 athlete, about her recent experiences racing in Florida. Take a look…

Z3: Over the past two weekends you’ve competed in your first Elite (Pro) triathlons. How did they go?

TG: Clermont and Sarasota were my first Pro events ever and I was so excited to compete coming off a long winter. Clermont was a complete mess. I’ve never really raced this early in the year. I just think I put to much pressure on myself and it ended badly.

Z3: What do you mean you put too much pressure on yourself?

TG: In Clermont, it was weird for me to see my past competitors racing in a totally different race than I was in. Honestly, I didn’t think I realized who I was going to be competing against. Racing against past Olympian Sarah Haskins was an honor to me. (I was actually thinking about maybe getting a picture with her before the race in the athlete lounge… but I didn’t want to bother her so I kept to myself. LOL!) Read more

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Assessments & Skills Development

We believe it's important that youth and young adult athletes are connected with coaches and trainers who understand the physiology of the young athlete. Whether you're a Z3 athlete, or considering becoming a member of the team, our coaches and trainers are dialed in to exactly what youth athletes need to improve.

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