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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI international engineering student are kings of summer’s Crabman Sprint Triathlon

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 1, 2010 – URI International Engineering Program students Christian Faria, Anais Grilli and Edward Thomas don’t have much free time during the academic year. But even though they double-major in engineering and a foreign language, they still were able to make time in their busy schedules to prepare for and take first place in the team category of the Crabman Sprint Triathlon held in July.

Organized by Lars Erickson, associate professor and director of the French IEP program, the team completed the quarter mile swim, 11-mile bike course, and 3.2 mile run in just over an hour. Even in the summer, when most students are relaxing, the team was still too busy to organize a time to train together prior to the race.

“Since each member of the team had a busy schedule, we didn't have a chance to practice before the race,” said Faria of Wakefield, who biked the 11-mile leg of the race. “We trained individually for our own portions, which helped us to be prepared as a team on the day of the competition.”

Grilli, a Narragansett resident and a double major in both French and engineering, has also committed herself to the URI women’s swim team. As a distance freestyle swimmer, this undoubtedly helped to complete her leg of the race.

Working at W.E.Steadman Co., a bike shop in Wakefield, Faria benefitted from being surrounded by experienced riders.

“I knew many people through and at the shop who would be willing to help me out in my training for the race. I also participated in one of the Ninigret time-trials, a 9.3-mile course near Charlestown,” said Faria. “This time trial really helped me because it was very similar to the type of riding that I did in the actual leg of the triathlon, so I knew what to expect in the race.”

Although running the last leg of the race and completing it to take first, Thomas, of West Warwick, was probably the least prepared for the course.

“I wasn’t remotely ready to run the last part of the race. Professor Erickson, Chris, and Anais started to congratulate me when I finished, but I couldn’t even talk to them because I was exhausted,” said Thomas. “I just laid on the grass for 10 minutes catching my breath.”

Despite being winded from his run, Thomas is no stranger to training. He works out daily in different forms of mixed martial arts and enjoys hiking and mountain climbing.

“I give Professor Erickson a lot of credit for competing in the individual race, I wouldn’t have made it,” said Thomas, commenting on Erickson’s impressive finish in the swimming, cycling and running event for individuals, placing 53rd out of 316 participants.

While preparing for his own participation in the race, Erickson was managing the three IEP students and making sure they were organized for race day. In addition to aiding them through the process of registration, Erickson also wanted to create relationships within the IEP program.

“I wanted to organize a team to participate in the triathlon to create a sense of camaraderie in the program,” said Erickson. “All of them had a background in athletics and it was nice for the members to do something outside of an academic setting and get to know one another.”

Besides forging friendships within the IEP house, the team also learned one important lesson as a result of their impressive win over the other 17 relay teams as noted by Thomas.

“Train harder.”

This release was written by Alicia Blain, an intern in URI’s Department of Communications and Marketing and a public relations major.