Brennan Conquers the Triathlon

Swim, Bike, Run: How Tessa Brennan does it all


By: Gabrielle Faletto , Reporter

Not many people get to say that by the time they are 15, they can finish a three continuous and sequential endurance competition, known as a triathlon. Sophomore, Tessa Brennan is doing just that. She is among the few who compete in a series of events that involve swimming, cycling and running.
Brennan, born and adopted from Russia, began her passion for triathlon’s five years ago when her family participated in a local 5K. Dan Brennan, Tessa’s dad, noticed she had a little more potential than others. A triathlon coach reached out to Brennan and persuaded her to join a team.
“After Tessa competed in her first triathlon, she never looked back and hasn’t stopped competing since,” Dan Brennan said.

As Brennan’s triathlon commitment grew stronger, her competitions took her all over the nation. With her dad driving the team trailer, she competed in Seattle, Colorado, Florida, Virginia and several other states across the U.S.

“I like the Seattle race because it was the most scenic race I’ve been to and we even got to tour the city of Seattle. I remember my dad and I went out to dinner for sushi and as we sat down, our view was of the mountains,” Brennan said.

These travels also gave Brennan the opportunity to meet her role model.

“I recently got the chance to meet and train with Gwen Jorgensen in Colorado. She is the Olympic Gold Medalist in triathlons. She is a very good athlete, very talented, has a great work ethic and because I met her, she has given me valuable techniques,” Brennan said.

It’s moments like these where Brennan is feeling the most motivation and gratefulness to her teammates, friends and parents. Even Brennan’s closest friends describe her as funny, hardworking, pretty, dramatic, energetic and loveable.

“The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Tessa is her laugh. She has the best laugh and she always gives me so much sass. I also love when she impersonates people, especially me. She keeps me on my toes,” friend Becca Richtman said.

Training for triathlons demands countless hours and sacrifices. Brennan trains six days a week, with Sundays off. Her practices range from two and a half hours to four hours, with Saturday’s being a longer session, because she trains for all three events.

“We swim for about an hour and run anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, which is pretty much non-stop. Drills and distances vary on the day. During a typical triathlon, I used to do a 360 meter swim, a 10K (six miles) bike ride, and a one and a half mile run, but I will be doubling up the distances next year,” Brennan said.

Brennan’s best event in triathlons is swimming. Although everyone says swimming would be the most challenging, Brennan believes the more you practice, the more you’ll get the hang of it.

While triathlons play a big role in Brennan’s life, there are many challenges that come along with it. With Brennan having such a busy schedule, she is always on the go.

“It is very hard to find time to hang out as friends, but I just ask her what days she is free and we work around it,” friend Grace Purcell said.

Brennan wouldn’t be the person she is today without the support and encouragement of her family members.

“We constantly check in with her if the load is too much, but she always has it managed. She just fits it all in and generally never complains. I never have to do anything to keep her going. My wife and I actually have to slow her down at times. We somehow manage to eat dinner and pray together on most nights,” Dan Brennan said.

Brennan’s biggest accomplishments are her two top ten finishes in Junior League Cup races, which is a series of races all over the country that are national qualifiers.

“Tessa gives me inspiration daily. She never gives up at races even if she is not doing her best. She reminds me everyday that hard work does pay off,” Christine Brennan, Tessa’s mom, said.

Dan and Christine Brennan just want Tessa to grow athletically, spiritually, and academically in balance because they are all important.

“God put Tessa and her brother in our lives, and I can’t imagine life without them,” Christine Brennan said.

It is evident that Brennan is someone you want to get to know. She is a positive spirit, energetic, vibrant and so committed to her triathlons and her studies at KHS. She is someone we can all learn from and her outlook on triathlons is applicable to life in general.

“When I started, it was really hard, so just keep going and you’ll get the hang of it,” Brennan said.