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Meet the Team


 


Coach: JT Rodgers

Coach JT grew up doing triathlons and raced his way through USAT’s Junior Elite ranks in the same age group as Ben Kanute and Kevin McDowell. His triathlon experience earned him a spot swimming at the NCAA level in college, and qualified him for his USAT Elite license in triathlon by age 21.  JT was selected as a Team Captain on the 2019 National Champions at Queens University of Charlotte Men’s Triathlon Team under Coach Sonni Dyer while also serving as an Assistant Coach / Head of Swim Development for Queens University of Charlotte. In his two years of coaching at Queens he helped bring them 2 NCAA DII Championships and one combined Club National Championship.

  • Year on the Team: 1st
  • Hometown: Mission Viejo, CA
  • Favorite of the 3 disciplines: The Swim
  • Favorite Team Activity: Test Sets of any kind with teammates
  • Favorite Team Memory: Group Rides before COVID-19
  • Favorite Gel Flavor/Drink: GU Espresso / Red Bull
  • #1 Tip to a Newbie: Have Fun, don’t lose sight of why you started the sport in the first place, and treat everyone kindly regardless of their speed.
  • Worst Forgotten Item on Race Morning: I once left my time trial helmet at the hotel, I remembered about a hour before the race, my roommate wasn’t racing and drove to go get the helmet for me while I started the swim and put it on my bike for me right before I exited the water. I was pleasantly surprised and very thankful!

Team Coordinator & Assistant Coach: Jesse Holt

  • Year in School: 5th 
  • Degree: PhD in Biophysics
  • Year on the Team: 5th
  • Hometown: Escondido, CA
  • Favorite of the 3 disciplines: Swimming during a race but cycling practices are super fun
  • Favorite Team Activity: Bike Camp! Adventure rides, exploring new places, hanging with friends making memories what’s not to love?
  • Favorite Team Memory: Drew’s Birthday Celebration
  • Favorite Gel Flavor: Raspberry Gel
  • #1 Tip to a Newbie: Be consistent. Just get outside often and have some fun. Train hard but train smart. It’s easier when you train with friends and have others to keep you accountable. On race day you want to make sure you’re prepared so you can just get out there and send it.
  • Worst Forgotten Item on Race Morning: I actually forgot my race kit at home when we raced the Cal Bearathlon. Luckily I had my Aqua Man speedo in my bag so I just wore that during the race. It all turned out okay in the end but if you race in a speedo it puts pressure on you to go fast or you just look like a tool.
  • How I Got Into Tri: I started triathlon when I was an undergrad at UCSD. I got hit by a car and broke my collarbone my second year. It bungled my plans to join the swim team there so I decided why should I be good at one sport when I can be slightly above average at 3.
  • Email: holtj@uci.edu

El Presidente & Pace Arrow Captain: Summer Kasallis

  • Year on the Team: 2nd
  • Hometown: West Hollywood, CA
  • Favorite of the 3 disciplines: bike (even though mine is always broken🙃 )
  • Favorite Team Activity: tri camps for sure
  • Favorite Team Memory: evening ocean “swim” at santa barbara tri camp
  • Favorite Drink Mix: gatorade & redbull
  • #1 Tip to a Newbie: definitely talk to your teammates & get the low-down on what their race-day checklists are like, there may be small stuff you haven’t thought of that can come in handy! (foggle, mini towel in T1 to get dirt/gravel off your feet faster, etc)
  • Worst Forgotten Item on Race Morning: not sure how I always manage to forget bike bottles but i’ve raced quite a few times very dehydrated lol
  • How I Got Into Tri: I used to just run distance but after a serious ankle injury i tried swimming & cycling to maintain fitness instead. ended up liking the variety I had with training even after I was able to run again!

Vice President & Co-Race Director: Mark Kim

  • Hi guys, my name is Mark Kim and I am Vice President of the Triathlon Club. My hometown is Irvine. This is my second year on the triathlon team, but I already have many great memories. I initially got into triathlon because I had been running, having a cross country/track background, but also swam for much of my childhood as a way to stay in shape. Because of this, I wanted to take on a new challenge and try triathlon out. I have since come to really enjoy the sport and the team around it. My favorite of the three disciplines has to be running as I find it the easiest to train and compete well in. My favorite activity as a team is going to a bike camp that we held in San Diego where I got to really push the limits of my biking abilities while also being able to bond with my teammates. My favorite memory on the team would be completing my first race, the UCLA IronBruin as it was my first triathlon race on the team but also my first triathlon race in general. It was very rewarding to finish a race that seems so difficult. My biggest to tip to someone who is starting in this sport is to maintain good hydration and nutrition before and during practices as it is easy to become very exhausted in a short amount of time. My favorite hydration drink mix is Lemon-Lime.

Treasurer & Social Media: Megan Uozumi

  • Year in School: 3rd
  • Year on the Team: 2nd
  • Major: Mechanical Engineering (minor: BME)
  • Hometown: Belmont, CA
  • Favorite of the 3 disciplines: Running
  • Favorite Team Activity: Racing
  • Favorite Team Memory: San Diego Bike Camp
  • Favorite Drink: vitaminwater xxx.
  • #1 Tip to a Newbie: Practice open water swimming in the ocean before you try it during a race.
  • Worst Forgotten Item on Race Morning: I forgot dramamine, got a bout of vertigo during the swim, and threw up on the way to transition.
  • How I Got Into Tri: I ran xc and track in high school, but when I got to UCI I wanted to try something new so I joined the Powerlifting team. It took about a year for me to realize that lifting heavy weights wasn’t my calling (at 5’5″ and 115lbs, the weights I was lifting weren’t actually that heavy). I missed racing, and saw triathlon the a perfect opportunity to do something I’m good at (running), something I like (biking), and something I want to get better at (swimming).
  • Email: muozumi@uci.edu

Membership Co-Chair: Victoria Chen

  • Major: Computer Science
  • Year in School: 3rd
  • Hometown: Cupertino, CA
  • Favorite Race: Wildflower
  • Athletic Background: Blue
  • Favorite thing about the team: Everyone on the team is so supportive and encouraging that before you know it, whether you initially believed in yourself or not, you’ll find yourself crossing that finish line with a huge smile on your face, already making plans for the next race. Also, it’s awesome to have such a quirky group of people to go on adventures with.
  • Favorite Hobby: Exploring the outdoors
  • Spirit Animal: Penguin
  • Email: vmchen1@uci.edu

Co-Race Director: Andrew Helmers

  • Year on the Team: 4th 
  • Hometown: Pleasanton, CA.
  • Favorite Team Activity: Camping trips with the team for sure.
  • Favorite Team Memory: Going to Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara and having our race around the campsite. I hit a unique personal record that night.
  • Favorite Drink Mix: Have to be honest, I don’t drink the mix stuff but milk is a classic go to beverage. Highly recommended. 14/10.
  • #1 Tip to a Newbie: Drink water. Eat food. Don’t bonk.
  • Worst Forgotten Item on Race Morning: For my very first race on UCI Tri, I forgot a wetsuit for an ocean swim and although the cold wasn’t terrible, I’d highly not recommend it for newbies. 2/10.
  • How I Got Into Tri: I got into triathlon because I wanted to change it up from just running and try something new why still staying active.
  • Email: ahelmers@uci.edu

Sponsorship Chair: Wilfred Russell

  • bio coming soon