GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Calvin College has announced Kattie Carpenter as its head women's triathlon coach.
Carpenter will head the triathlon program that was announced as a varsity sport last spring. Carpenter will lead the Knights into their inaugural season next fall.
Women's triathlon is a fall sport that begins in early September and concludes with the Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championship in early November. The addition of the women's triathlon program at Calvin is made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women's Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women's triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level.
Carpenter hails from nearby Byron Center. She is a 2003 graduate of Cornerstone University where she majored in English and secondary education with a minor in physical education. She is currently an English language arts and physical education teacher at Crestwood Middle School in Kentwood.
"I am extremely excited for this opportunity," said Carpenter. "At Calvin, I feel there is a real strong sense of community and a wonderful Christian atmosphere. I am very much looking forward to building the women's triathlon program."
Carpenter is also a licensed personal trainer who coached over 200 triathlon clients since 2004.
Carpenter got into the sport of triathlon not long after completing her collegiate studies. "I had done some running in high school but had never been a swimmer or had a true road bike," she said. "I didn't learn how to swim until I was 22, the same week I purchased my first road bike and it grew from there."
Carpenter developed her triathlon career to the point where she was able to compete in several elite amateur triathlon races and complete one triathlon of the Ironman distance.
"I have always considered myself a better coach than an athlete," said Carpenter. "I would say that I lack natural talent/ability; but my determination, passion for knowledge, and hard work allowed me to rise beyond anticipation. I love sharing what I learn with others. Being a teacher/coach defines not only my profession, but my calling."
Carpenter is looking forward to teaching the sport to aspiring collegiate female student-athletes. "I look forward to finding student-athletes who want to pursue the sport of triathlon," she said. "Triathlon is a true life-long sport. It can support an overall healthy lifestyle. The people that you meet in the sport will become some of your best life-long friends."
Calvin associate director of athletics Dr. Nancy Meyer offered words of welcome to Carpenter. "We're extremely pleased to hire someone of Kattie's caliber," said Meyer. "Her experience in both competing and coaching triathlon will serve us well. She will also be a wonderful Christian mentor and role model for our female athletes. We're also very excited to be part of history as the first college or university in the state of Michigan to sponsor women's triathlon as a collegiate sport."
Calvin Director of Athletics Dr. Jim Timmer praised the addition of Carpenter to the Calvin coaching staff. "We are excited to have Coach Carpenter join our staff," said Timmer. "Her faith makes her great fit with Calvin's mission and her passion an expertise for triathlon is contagious. I also want to thank Dr. Meyer for her outstanding efforts in the start-up of the program."