By Melissa Brennan
Upon finishing his last length in the pool, Tyler Bushnell climbed out in a distant fifth place. He laced up his sneakers and threw on his t-shirt while he contemplated what he needed to do to come out in first place.
“I was fourth or fifth coming out of the pool and I had to track them down,” said Bushnell, referring to the other competitors.
As he began to run, he picked off the four competitors one by one until he found himself crossing the finish line in first.
For Bushnell, a former BYU track athlete, this is the second time he has won the BYU Splash and Dash Biathlon at the standard level. Last year”s race also included a close finish with Bushnell finishing on top.
Like any biathlon, participants in the Splash and Dash compete in two events: they swim a number of laps in the pool, then change their gear for a 5K run.
Bushnell said he began competing in the biathlon and other events like the triathlon when he finished competing in track events for the BYU track team. He found the biathlon to be an event that provided him with an upper level of competition.
Bushnell said he thinks the BYU Events Management, a department of Student Leadership, does a great job each year with the organization and execution of the event.
Richard Stewart, this year”s Splash and Dash coordinator, said the event promotes health and helps students prepare for future competitions like triathlons.
“Its main purpose is to provide students with an opportunity to participate in an endurance competition,” Stewart said.
The BYU Splash and Dash Biathlon began in Fall Semester 1998 and has been hosted at the Richard”s Building swimming pool. Since then, the name changed to the “Splash and Dash” and the 5K running event has been added.
Students had the option of competing in one of five events including beginner, standard, elite, team and the individual 5K run. Depending on their level of physical condition, students could choose from any of the five events, beginner being the easiest.
Peter Spencer, a senior studying geography, has competed in the BYU Splash and Dash since his freshman year in 1998.
“It”s fun to do it every year,” Spencer said. “It”s kind of like a tradition.”
As a high school wrestler in Kentucky and North Carolina, Spencer said he enjoys competition and the biathlon gives him a chance to not only compete against others but also against himself.
“In wrestling, you compete against another person, but with the biathlon, you”re doing the best that you can personally do,” Spencer said. “I enjoy the training. I enjoy having a goal and working toward it. It”s fun to push yourself.”
Although Spencer didn”t win his event, he said he still feels satisfied when he participates in the biathlon and thinks it”s a great opportunity for every student.
“It”s good to know that I”m in a little bit of shape,” Spencer said. “It”s totally tailored to everyone.”
Krista Carlson, a lifeguard at the RB swimming pool, said she competed in the biathlon for the first time last year and enjoyed it enough to sign up again this year.
“I loved it,” Carlson said. “It gave me a reason to get in shape. I thought it would be a fun tradition to continue.”
Watching the BYU swimming and diving teams compete during the year reminded Carlson of her high school swim team days and motivated her to sign up for the event, she said.
Carlson said she enjoys feeling the competitive atmosphere that she felt during high school swimming.
“I haven”t competed in anything since high school,” Carlson said. “It”s fun to have a competitive atmosphere.”