Combination of sports leads to new college path


Senior Bella Schaller running at cross country practice on Aug. 22. Schaller focused on running for cross country, but still planned on training for upcoming triathlons as well as her future goals.

Senior Bella Schaller started her freshman year as a swimmer planning on continuing with swimming till college, but in her sophomore year, she decided to compete in running instead. Schaller still missed swimming though, so she decided to combine the love for both the sports by participating in triathlons. So far Schaller has only done three but plans on doing more and even wants to go college for it. 

Meghan McGowan: How did you get started in triathlons? 

Bella Schaller: Well I have been a competitive swimmer since I was 10, so I have a strong background in swimming. Then I kinda got burnt out from swimming, and I always ran on the side of swimming, and my dad and my uncles and aunts ran in college, so I thought I might as well run. I started track my freshman year, but then COVID. [But] decided sophomore year to pursue running over swimming. Part of me still missed swimming, but I couldn’t see myself swimming long term. So eventually, my coach brought up the idea of triathlons to combine my love of both swimming and running. I did my first one back in December, which was like a fun one with like old people.Then this summer, I started getting reached out to by colleges because of my swim and run times; there are very few people who can do my swim and run times. I just wanted to combined my love of two sports and be able to compete 

MM: What was the most recent triathlon you did? 

BS: Age Group Nationals which was a non-draft legal race. To qualify, you had to win one race in your area. This year the race was in Milwaukee, WI, and I competed in the 15-19 age group. And I ended up getting third overall at this race.  

MM: How did you decide to try and compete in triathlons at college? 

BS: A few colleges reached out to me about triathlon, and it just kinda sparked my interest in being able to do two sports in college instead of solely one, cause I get bored of doing the same thing. One reached out to me and brought the idea. 

MM: How is the experience of doing triathlons different from competing in a swim or track race?  

BS: I felt a lot more enjoyable and a lot less pressure since I am new to it, and it really just showed how much potential I have for the sport. And it’s still new, so I want to just keep having fun with it and get better and better and not try and compare myself to other people that have been doing it for so much longer. 

MM: What are your future goals in triathlons? 

BS: My main one is to go D1 preferably at TCU or University of Denver, and then win a national championship, go to worlds, compete for team USA, and possibly later in my life go pro and a brand deal. 

Schaller is currently focusing on running right now for the upcoming cross country season, but is still training for future triathlons. Schaller’s love for both sports lead her on a new path through high school, college, and a possible career.