Daniel Riegel, President
Within a week of moving to Austin in January 2005, Daniel walked into Austin Tri Cyclist on Barton Springs Road, bought a swimsuit, and decided he was going to do a triathlon. Only two problems. He didn’t know how to swim. And he was terrified of deep water. So Daniel focused on running. He signed up for the Austin Distance Challenge and ran the Austin Marathon. Then, he bought a bike and started commuting to his job in Manor. With running and biking down, Daniel really wanted to learn to swim, but he couldn’t get over his fears. Fast forward to January 2013. Daniel was attending law school in Washington, D.C. when he heard that the DC Triathlon Club was offering a New Triathlete Program for folks interested in trying out triathlon. He signed up. With the help of several patient volunteer coaches, Daniel learned to swim a lap, then two, and then twenty. He was hooked. Daniel completed Ironman Chattanooga a year later and then Ironman Mont-Tremblant in 2015. Long having missed Austin, Daniel returned home in 2016, with his wife and fellow club founder, Meghann. Daniel created Austin Tri Club because he loves Austin—the people, the trails, Barton Springs—and he loves the sport of triathlon. He hopes that Austin Tri Club can increase access to triathlon for all Austin residents, and that the club can provide a fun, supportive, and welcoming environment for triathletes of all abilities.
Meghann Jones, VP
Meghann started out in running, and following injury after injury decided she needed to do more cross-training. In 2011 she bought her first road bike and soon after, she signed up for her first triathlon. She needed to learn how to swim. Living in DC at the time, Meghann joined DC Triathlon Club where she found the support and encouragement she needed to not only learn how to swim - which is now her favorite sport - but also to complete multiple short and long distance triathlons, including Ironman Louisville in 2013. Through the club, Meghann also met some of her best friends, including her husband, club president Daniel Riegel. Meghann’s main motivation in co-founding Austin Triathlon Club is to offer the same support and encouragement to new triathletes in Austin that she had when starting out, and to create a social space where personal accomplishments will always mean more than competition.
Laura Gilmour, Secretary
Laura got her start in triathlon as a grad student in Memphis TN who was looking for people to run with while training for her first half marathon. She was fortunate enough to find a 'triathlon' class at the school fitness center. While not knowing exactly what triathlon was, one component was running so she signed up! The coach of this program, Joy, was an experienced triathlete training for Kona. Joy's enthusiasm convinced Laura to learn how to swim laps and participate in her first triathlon, Memphis in May, an Olympic distance race, five months later. Laura went on to meet some of her dearest friends through triathlon, become a member of two triathlon teams, and compete as an age group triathlete in every distance including Ironman Lake Placid in 2011. Currently, Laura is focused on long distance trail running, but she still enjoys a good bike for cross training. Laura believes the running and triathlon community has kept her healthy - both physically and mentally - and she is excited about the opportunity to extend that welcoming community through the Austin Triathlon Club.
Josh Rabinowitz, Treasurer
Josh started cross country his junior year in high school when he realized that the varsity team doesn't need a linebacker who can't see over the offensive line. More seriously, he also realized that weight lifting alone wouldn't help him avoid diabetes and heart disease that runs in his family line. Josh jumped from 100m to 5k that year, completed his first marathon two years later, and has completed three more since. Josh's motivations for involvement in the Austin Triathlon Club include interest in supporting Austin's athletic culture, a passion for building nonprofit organizational capacity, and a need to learn how to swim.
Larry Norris, Training Director
In 2007, Larry set out to lose weight and “get into shape”. That led to running a 5k and he still remembers thinking that running longer than that, for him, was impossible. Eventually though, the races got longer and longer, until he did his first marathon in late 2008. He then bought a bike to ride and started learning to swim. He found he loved triathlon so he joined and then later served as a board member for the Oklahoma City triathlon club, TriOkc, before moving to Austin in late 2011. He's completed 3 iron-distance triathlons and countless other distance triathlons, but still remembers the struggle of swimming 25 meters in the pool when he first started, and the help and support of other triathletes that helped him to keep going. He loves helping and seeing people accomplish what they once thought was "impossible."
Dena Childs, Communications Director
Dena had started many Couch to 5K running plans over the years, but never finished any of them. It wasn’t until she signed up for a local 5K in Massachusetts in 2008 that she was able to stay motivated and finish the plan. Her love of running grew as she continued to challenge herself with longer races. The next year, she joined her sister-in-law who was doing her first sprint triathlon, and got the triathlon bug too. For the next few years she trained and raced with the Northampton Cycling Club triathlon team and learned so much from this supportive community. Since moving to Austin in 2012, Dena has continued challenging herself while exploring trail running, cyclocross, and more triathlon racing including a couple of 70.3 races. She’s excited to help grow the Austin Triathlon Club and spread the love of triathlon in Austin.
Leslie Andrews Booker, Director of Volunteering and Community Service
A few years ago, Leslie served as a child abuse prosecutor. She was CONSTANTLY stressed out. Instead of drinking nightly cosmos as an outlet, she picked up running. Running was a great stress release but then she saw the replay of Kona one afternoon. She decided to give triathlon a shot. Like many people, she was initially terrified of the swim. But she overcame the fear and finished her first triathlon in 2012. Since then, she has become a tri addict and has completed everything between a sprint and a full. While she has completed almost every local triathlon in Austin, she has also had the opportunity to travel across the country and abroad. In February 2017, she traveled to Cuba for a half distance triathlon. Because triathlon has benefited her physically and mentally, she looks forward to giving back to the triathlon community by volunteering and supporting other athletes.
Jennifer Standley, Membership Director
Jennifer has been a competitive swimmer since she was 5, swimming on the neighborhood swim team. Eventually she thought that running was a great way to stop the weight gain that seems to haunt a person as they age. First doing some local 5ks until making the first marathon attempt in Houston. Since that didn’t go so well, Jennifer’s training shifted focus by adding cycling. She went and bought a hybrid from Walmart and let a friend talk her in to putting her 3 activities together and signing up for her first triathlon. It’s been a crazy ride since then, having completed 4 HIMs, many Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons, and finally got a full marathon under her belt. With only one distance left to conquer (yep, the big 140.6), Jennifer is excited to be a part of Austin Triathlon Club in order to provide a supportive, and informative atmosphere for others to fall in love with Triathlon. It’s a great ride to be on!
Cassandra Stevenson, Social Events Director
Cassandra has been leisurely running and training for several years, but after a serious sports injury in 2010 which left her unable to walk unassisted, she made it a point to really ‘get in shape’. After much recovery, determination and support from others, Cassandra participated in her first triathlon in Australia – a super sprint relay. She had to learn how to swim (in the ocean), buy her first road bike and donned her first tri suit. She hasn’t stopped since. Cassandra has raced most standard triathlon distances, and even completed her first Ironman race in 2017. Her favorite discipline is cycling. Training for and racing in triathlons has been challenging but extremely rewarding for Cassandra, and she wants to support others who take the daunting step to race.