Making the Team: Zwift Academy Tri 2021

WHAT IS THE ZWIFT ACADEMY TRI TEAM?

The Zwift Academy Tri Team is in its 5th season and is made up of amateur triathletes who have completed a training program (bike and run) and 2 online Zwift races. Out of over 150,000 registered Zwift users, the Zwift team has selected 6 athletes from 5 countries across 4 continents.

According the Zwift, “the workout program has been designed to improve on the skills required to be a successful triathlete and will allow the coaches to uncover the physical attributes of those seeking a place on the Zwift Academy Tri Team in 2021.”

The goal for the Zwift Academy Tri Team athletes is to qualify and compete at the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona. Thanks to the insane level of support from our partners, there’s never been a better time for these Zwifters to make these dreams reality. The program has been a launching pad for a number of amateur triathletes looking to make the leap to the professional ranks.

For those of you not familiar with Zwift, it is an app for cyclists, runners, and triathletes that makes indoor training fun. It’s where fitness meets video games. You can explore unique worlds and reach your fitness goals with a global community behind you, collecting points and earning badges as you go! Learn more about Zwift here

THE APPLICATION PROCESS

How do you become a Zwift Academy Tri Team member? Registration for the 2021 team opened in October 2020. Athletes had to complete 10 workouts and two races (one cycling, one running) to be qualified to earn their spot on the team. 

After the completion of the workouts and races, a select number of athletes were invited to complete a detailed questionnaire about their experiences with Zwift, previous results, upcoming racing schedule and general demographic information.

In the next round of the application, selected athletes were asked to submit a 3-minute video with the goal of showing your personality and getting a better idea of who the athletes are outside of the sport.

After the video submission, it was a waiting game to see if you were chosen. Final selections were asked to conduct an interview with the Zwift team to narrow done the final selections. Little did we know, those “final interviews” would include a surprise announcement by tri mentors Tim Don or Sarah True to share the news that the athletes made the team!

My own personal reaction was a bit subdued because I thought that Sarah was mistaken and didn’t believe her at first when she congratulated me on making the team. I wish I had a do-over!

THE TEAM

Thousands completed the Zwift Academy Tri. Hundreds competed for a spot on the best supported amateur triathlon team in the world. Six Zwifters made the final cut.

Meet the team:

  • Eric Engel, USA. Eric is a digital marketer in Wisconsin and has been hooked on triathlon since university.
  • Kristen Yax, USA. Kristen comes from Oregon where she is a psychology professor.
  • Rebecca Duxbury, UK. A former competitive hockey player, Rebecca calls Oxfordshire home and is a full-time pharmacist.
  • Lukas Bosmans, Belgium. Lukas is a police detective, loves running and has won several beer miles.
  • Kangsub Song, South Korea. Kangsub is a computer programmer and network engineer. He is a committed Zwifter with  level 50 on the bike and level 21 on the treadmill.
  • Vanessa Murray, Australia/NZ. Vanessa is from New Zealand but calls Melbourne home and spends her time coaching new triathletes in addition to working a full-time job.

Along with the 6 athletes, they will be supported by mentors and professional triathletes Tim Don and Sarah True

THE SPONSORS & PERKS

One of the biggest draws to being selected to the Zwift Academy Tri Team is the unrivaled support from the sponsors.

The 2021 Zwift Tri Academy Team sponsors include

  • ZWIFT: Zwift is an app for cyclists, runners, and triathletes that makes indoor training fun. Explore our worlds and reach your fitness goals with a global community behind you for $14.99/month. Learn more
  • SPECIALIZED: Specialized is a leader in the cycling and fitness industry providing top of the line bikes, equipment and accessories for all levels of athletes. Learn more
  • WAHOO: Wahoo creates innovative solutions to make hard fought goals attainable and lives better. Wahoo was built on the foundation of simplicity and the mindset that “there’s got to be a better way.” Products including pedals, indoor trainers & accessories, watches/gps devices and more! Learn more
  • ROKA: Since launching in 2013, ROKA has built an industry-leading and award-winning in-house design and development team that engineers the most technical eyewear and swim gear on the planet. Learn more
  • SCIENCE IN SPORT: Science in Sport is a leading sports nutrition company that develops, manufactures and markets sports nutrition products for professional athletes and sports enthusiasts. Learn more
  • WHOOP: Whoop is a wrist-based device which provides daily personalized fitness, sleep, and recovery data delivered to you in real time with an app. Learn more

One of the biggest draws for amateur athletes, is the “pro-level” sponsorship and support. Some of the perks provided by the sponsors listed above include:

  • Specialized bikes, shoes, helmets, and money-can’t-buy performance experiences, such as time in their wind tunnel and with their bike fit experts
  • Full Wahoo training equipment package
  • ROKA swim gear, race kit, eyewear
  • Science in Sport nutrition products and expertise
  • Pro athlete mentorship from Tim Don and Sarah True
  • Whoop performance and recovery package

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE TEAM

Now that the team has been announced, the work doesn’t stop. All the Zwift Academy Tri athletes have their sights set on the IRONMAN World Championships. Some of the athletes, such as myself, are already qualified for Kona, but others still need to race their way to the big island!

The athletes will be supported by the Zwift team and sponsors throughout the 2021 season, culminating on the big island in October. The team will house and train together the days leading up to the IRONMAN World Championship and look to claim age group titles and podium finishes.

Follow along our journey by following Zwift and Zwift Tri on social media channels below:

Zwift Tri Instagram | Zwift Tri Facebook

Zwift Instagram | Zwift Facebook

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