The fast rising Gwen Jorgensen
Written by: Herbert Krabel
Date: Fri Apr 01 2011
Slowtwitch: Gwen it appears the 2011 season has started in earnest.
Gwen: Yes, it has started and it is in full swing.
ST: Your thoughts on your Mooloolaba performance?
Gwen: I think you can never be completely satisfied as there are always areas where you can improve. I had a solid swim and run. I have to keep developing my bike skills and power; fortunately USAT has been helping the USA athletes in this area. Recently USAT put on a bike clinic, brining in a USA Cycling coach to help us with our skills. It was extremely helpful!
ST: Going into Mooloolaba, what was your target for the race?
Gwen: My number one goal is always to have fun. I accomplished that! It was awesome to race against the best triathletes in the world. I learned a lot from them and am excited to practice and improve.
ST: How rough was the swim?
Gwen: The ocean waves were the most intense I’ve ever raced in. There was a huge current and the swells made it difficult to sight. I was surprised at how little pushing/pulling there was amongst the competitors. I was happy to not have to deal with a physical swim when the ocean was giving us enough to battle with.
ST: Coming out the water you were 15th it appears, just ahead of Paula Findlay. Was that the position you thought you should be in?
Gwen: I was shocked (in a good way) at the position I was in exiting the water; although, I should not have been as my swim coach with the Walter Schroeder Aquatic Club has been working hard to get my swim where it should be. I was excited and ready to race when I saw the people I was around exiting the water.
Gwen: I must have had a slow transition because I ended up in the second bike pack. There were a lot of crashes and I managed to stay upright; however, I also got dropped. I ended up doing a TT during some of the bike, until a third pack caught me. I rode the rest of the race in this pack. It started to downpour, causing more crashes. It was intense, but a great learning experience. The bike segment showcased my weaknesses and it showed me I still have a lot to learn, which is exciting – I am eager to learn more. USAT athletes and coaches have been extremely helpful. I spent time in Clermont training with some athletes who helped me out. I am also fortunate to have Tom Schuler in Wisconsin, and my coach, Cindi Bannink, to help me improve my bike.
ST: If you could pick a weakness would you say you would keep it as is, with your biking needing improvement?
Gwen: Can I pick no weakness? To compete at the highest level in this sport you have to have no weakness.
ST: You can certainly pick no weakness. Along those lines, you recorded the 2nd fastest run split behind Vendula Frintova, so clearly no worries about the run.
Gwen: I have a God given talent in running; right now my focus is on swimming and biking.
ST: When you say you still need to work on your swim, do you mean open water
swimming or the swim in general?
Gwen: Both. Right now I am trying to get my swim at a level where I can come out of the water and get in a competitive bike pack.
ST: Where did you go to college?
Gwen: University of Wisconsin-Madison. Go Badgers!
Gwen: Last year was my first year of triathlon. I never seriously considered competing in triathlons until Barb Lindquist and the college recruitment program with USAT contacted me. Ever since starting triathlons, I’ve been thrilled – the people in this sport are like a second family to me.
ST: You know you will make a lot of folks cry when they find out that you just
started with triathlon a year ago and now you are already competing in World
Gwen: I sure hope not! The only reason I have come as far as I have is because I have the best support system and people behind me. I hope I can inspire others to follow dreams, and to do their best in whatever it is their heart desires.
ST: So when did you get your Elite license?
Gwen: I earned my elite license in my first race last year at the EDR in Clermont, Florida.
ST: What is next for you?
Gwen: I will be heading to Mazatlan.
ST: How about the rest of the season?
Gwen: Monterrey is up next after Mazatlan. After that, my schedule is yet to be determined; however, I would like to compete in a few WCS races.
ST: Any races or locations you look particularly forward to?
Gwen: All of them - I love traveling to new places and experiencing different cultures. I especially like trying new foods and hanging out with other triathletes.
ST: What is going on for you on the sponsor front?
Gwen: I am on Team Timex this year. It is a team, which is unusual for sponsorship in the triathlon world. I love having teammates – it’s exciting and energizing to have teammates to follow, talk to, share ideas with and cheer for. I am also extremely lucky to have David Hobbs Honda as a sponsor. I drive a Honda Insight – which gets me to practices easily without having to spend a lot of money on gas. It’s environmentally friendly, and easily fits my bike in the back. I love it! I am still looking for independent sponsors to help with living expenses, and am searching for a running shoe sponsor ☺
Gwen: Sure. This is actually an area of weakness for me. Some days I eat great – fruit, vegetables, whole grains, meat, etc. Other days I gorge on ice cream and chocolate and forget to eat meat. I am still trying to make nutrition a discipline; however, it is difficult for me. I usually eat what I want, when I want. I am fortunate in that I don’t have to worry about weight; growing up my parents used to make me special meals with meat and shakes in order to help me keep weight on.
ST: What was the last book you read?
Gwen: Born on a Blue Day, by Daniel Tammet. It’s about a high-functioning British autistic boy. Very interesting – it was given to me by my aunt Liz (most books I read are recommendations from family and friends).
ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Gwen: I am a CPA working for Ernst & Young, LLP.
Also, I am fortunate to have the support I do – my family, friends, coworkers, coaches, the Walter Schroeder Aquatic Club, and USAT do more for me than I could ever ask for. Daily, I wake up and feel undeservingly blessed. I couldn’t compete in triathlons if it weren’t for the support I receive from them – if I succeed it is only because they are there behind me.
ST: How do you juggle your job with racing all over the world?
Gwen: Ernst & Young (EY) has been extremely flexible, allowing me to do both. I work part time for EY and take my computer wherever I travel, so I can work while I'm traveling. I'm blessed to be able to do both.
Brit Helen Jenkins took the win at the big Olympic test at the Dextro Energy WCS race in London, UK thus earned her Olympic ticket. American Gwn Jorgensen was the surprising runner-up and German Anja Dittmer finished third. 8.06.11
Gwen Jorgensen, whose only previous WCS finish was 27th at Hamburg, arrived like an unexpected comet; Sarah Groff endured serious downs on her way to Olympian heights. 8.06.11
About a year ago Gwen Jorgensen mentioned that she would like to do some ITU World Championship events. She has done that and some more, and this summer will be competing in the Olympic Games in London. 4.04.12
New Zealand’s Nicky Samuels won her first ITU World Cup at Mooloolaba thanks to a bike breakaway, and held off World Champion Emma Moffatt’s 2nd-best run. Riveros-Diaz finished third. 3.26.11
Gregory Roualt of France outsprinted the USA’s Jarrod Shoemaker; Helen Jenkins of Great Britain topped the USA’s Sarah Haskins at the Clermont ITU Pan American Cup 3.05.11