New TriDocs Club welcomes aspiring triathletes at all training levels

USF medical students have harnessed their high energy and competitive drive into establishing a newly registered club at the university. The TriDocs at USF club supports graduate-level students at USF Health and USF as they develop the athletic skills needed to compete in triathlons, an endurance race involving swimming, cycling and running in immediate succession.

The fledging club is already 45 members strong – mostly first-and second-year medical students and some physical therapy students, said first-year USF medical student Monique Konstantinovic, founder of TriDocs and a veteran triathlete.

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L to R: First year medical students Jonathan Koscso, Monique Konstantinovic and Nick James at a recent triathlon event. Konstantinovic, founder of the USF TriDocs Club, and Koscso will both be competing in Ironman Texas in May.

Students at all levels of training are welcome. The club includes those in training for their first triathlon as well as some more seasoned athletes like Konstantinovic, who was a member of USF’s track and cross country team as an undergraduate and will be competing in the Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas triathlon in May.

“It’s a great way to meet compatible training partners. We all encourage each other, whatever level we’re working at,” she said.

The club’s activities also provide a beneficial respite from all the intense studying required in medical school and other graduate programs, said Konstantinovic, who works early morning swims in the USF pool and other training activities around a demanding medical school schedule.

“The physical activity helps reduce the stress level, so you’re better able to focus when you get back to academics,” she said. “It teaches you to be very efficient with your time.”

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USF medical students Peggy Bettin, Katie Rodriguez, Elizabeth Rogers and Casey Nagel pose for a group shot after completing their first triathlon.

Konstantinovic and Nick James, are co-presidents of the TriDocs club, and Anthony DeSantis is the vice president.  James and DeSantis are first-year medical students as well.

More than 30 club members plan to compete in the upcoming HITS Triathlon Series in Ocala, FL, the weekend of March 23-24. Some are competing in the sprint-distance event, while others will tackle the half-ironman course – a 1.2 mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.

“The event has turned into an opportunity not only to achieve athletic goals, but to represent the USF Health community and set an example for physical and mental well-being,” said DeSantis, who will help transport some classmates’ bicycles in his pickup truck.

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Monique, right, with her mother Diane Konstantinovic, who is battling ovarian cancer and plans to walk in the upcoming “Race 4 Her Life: Fighting Ovarian Cancer” 5K.

In preparation for the Ocala triathlon series, many members will participate in the second annual “Race 4 Her Life: Fighting Ovarian Cancer” 5K run/walk  this Sunday, March 17, on the USF Tampa campus.

The event was founded by Konstantinovic whose mother Diane Konstantinovic, 52, a Pinellas County deputy sheriff, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer seven years ago and continues to battle the aggressive disease. Sponsored by the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation, proceeds from the run benefit ovarian cancer research and help defray the cost of treatment for Tampa Bay area patients.

Konstantinovic’s mother and father, Andel, plan to walk the route and her sister Alicia, 18, will run on Sunday, while Konstantinovic, a coordinator for the event, will cheer on her family and aspiring triathlete classmates.

For more information on TriDocs at USF, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/110397745792897/?fref=ts

For more on this Sunday’s Race 4 Her Life 5K : http://www.active.com/running/tampa-fl/race-4-her-life-fighting-ovarian-cancer-2013

For more on the March 23-24 HITS Triathlon Series in Ocala: http://www.hitstriathlonseries.com/ocala-fl/register-to-race

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Triathlons are a test of endurance involving swimming…..

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Cycling….

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And running!