Physical therapy student takes her place among world’s best triathletes

On Sept. 10 Doctor of Physical Therapy student Kaitlin Shiver competed in the prestigious World Triathlon Championships in Beijing, finishing fourth in her division. On Monday morning, just two days after the competition, Shiver was in a physical therapy classroom halfway around the world in Gainesville, Fla.

“I have been having a good season and I knew I could do fairly well, but I had no idea I would end up in the top five,” said Shiver, the 2011 U.S. Triathlon National Collegiate Champion.

Kaitlin Shiver wins the 2011 U.S. Triathlon National Collegiate Championship.

The balancing act of student and athlete is nothing new for Shiver, who was a member of UF’s women’s cross-country team as an undergraduate. Managing graduate studies and professional athletics takes creativity and a lot of support from fellow students and her coach, Shiver said.

“I do a lot more rides on my indoor bike trainer than outside so I can read and study while I ride,” said Shiver, who also records anatomy facts on her iPod so she can listen to them while riding her bike or driving to the pool.      

“It also takes a lot of day-to-day planning and time management to ensure I study enough and get in the proper training,” she said. “My coach, Jennifer Hutchison (a 1990 UF clinical and community dietetics alumna), is also excellent about modifying my workouts based on my school obligations. She is very aware of which days I have more classes and when all my exams are so we can work training around school, the ultimate priority.”

Shiver placed third at the 2011 USA Triathlon Elite National Championship held Sept. 24 in Buffalo, N.Y. and first in her division, women under 23. She has qualified for USA Triathlon’s Project 2016, a developmental program to train athletes to compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

“The ultimate goal is to be a contender for the 2016 Olympic Games,” she said.