Bringing the triathlon to Fort Worth: TCU adds women’s triathlon as 22nd intercollegiate sport


TCU added women’s triathlon as the 22nd intercollegiate sport. Jenny Garrison was named the first head coach and was tasked with putting together the initial roster. Dec. 12, 2021. (Photo courtesy of

By Micah Pearce, Staff Writer

TCU hired Jenny Garrison in December of 2021 as the first triathlon coach of the Horned Frogs’ newest varsity sport.

Garrison, who was tasked with putting together the inaugural roster of athletes, said she was excited about a new challenge of bringing the sport to a Big 12 school in Texas. 

The first team consists of 10 women, five of whom are international students. Three hail from Spain, one from Mexico and another from Colombia. 

The team is missing two of their athletes who are in Spain and will arrive on campus in the spring semester. The entire team is taking a year off so the athletes can get accustomed to the process. 

“It was smart on TCU’s side to have a redshirt season so those obstacles we went through this year are okay to have,” said Garrison. “We’re not in a rush to compete.”  

Maria Coral, a first-year from Colombia, was attracted to TCU first and was compelled to come when she found out they were starting a triathlon program. 

Coral said she grew up swimming but got burnt out on the sport after years of training. She experimented with different sports, such as gymnastics and kayaking, and in 2018, she got her first taste of triathlon.

“I ran my first race, which was a national, and I won,” said Coral. “I was like, oh my gosh, I’m good at this and I like it.”

Garrison’s goals for the team

Garrison came to TCU after starting a triathlon program at North Central College in Illinois. She led that team to three Division III national titles and earned 2019 USAT Division III Coach of the Year. 

Before becoming a coach, Garrison competed in triathlons. She represented Team USA in World Championships in Australia, Canada, Switzerland and France. She placed third in the 2014 USAT Championships. 

“I’ve coached triathlon in the NCAA for the last 7 years and for the adults for the last 20 years,” said Garrison. “I raced professionally and was an athlete, so I’ve been doing triathlons myself for a long time — almost 25 years.”

With Garrison leading the team with a packed resume, Coral realized what kind of opportunity she had the chance to be a part of. 

“It’s a huge opportunity for me because I’m an international student so it’s super nice to have my team and Jenny as my coach,” said Coral. 

Garrison’s focus this year is on getting the team to be one cohesive unit, but looking forward, she wants TCU to be known for their triathlon team. For her, that means the fans should be able to watch them. 

“We would love to have a race on campus using the pool and the roads around campus,” said Garrison.

But, in the bigger picture, she wants to put TCU triathlon on the map.

“We want to bring triathlon to Fort Worth,” Garrison said.