Joe DeLeo

Name: Joe DeLeo (New member of the CNY Triathlon Club training for first triathlon)

Tell us about yourself.   I’ve lived in Syracuse since August 2008. I came to the area because of the opportunity to be the graduate assistant rowing coach for SU’s Men’s Rowing Team. While I was fulfilling my coaching duties I received my master’s degree in Media Management from Newhouse. After I finished my degree I decided to stick around the Cuse’ to train for rowing and get a job.

How long have you been involved in Triathlon and what made you take it up?   I joined the Tri-Club this January and I have been only training for a triathlon since December. I took it up because I was at a crossroads in my athletic career as well as personally. In 2012, I trained on my own in the single (1x) for rowing – twice a day 6 days a week around a full time job. It didn’t leave much time or energy for a social life. By the end of the year I needed to be around people again so for me just meeting and hanging with people that put a high value in exercise and a healthy lifestyle was something I was looking for.

Who is your Hero? Growing up I idolized Arnold Schwarzenegger,  but as I got older and more educated about the big business of athletics in professional sports, I’ve identified that I really admire the athletes who are blue collar. The ones who work tirelessly and most importantly do their respective sport for their love of it and DO NOT rely on performance enhancing drugs. Chase Utley of the Phillies comes to mind.

What is your athletic background?  I’ve been a rower for 15+ years (high school, college, pre-elite development camps) and coaching/training for the last 5 years.


What are your Triathlon strengths and weaknesses?  This is a tough one since I have not done one yet. I’ll say the swim will be my weakest event since I just started learning to swim in November.

What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most?  I have not done one – yet. Syracuse Half Ironman is my first scheduled race.


Given your extensive rowing experience and accomplishments, tell us about the transition into the sport of triathlon.  What has been the most challenging about the transition and what aspects have been more seamless?  The transition into triathlons has been a blast!  It hasn’t been seamless by any means, quite a few speed bumps to be honest.  After 15+ years of rowing and training, I have a really well established base underneath me so I’ve adapted quickly from a physiological standpoint.  Rowing is a power endurance sport – races last for 5-6 minutes; endurance is always important but power takes precedence.  With triathlons it is all about endurance and conditioning in the 3 activities.  Getting used to being on your feet for hours for competition takes time and it is very different than going REALLY hard for short amounts of time to the point where you want to throw up.  The other challenge has been refining my stroke or stride.  I am constantly looking for feedback in any of the activities to improve technique and efficiency.  Also, a big one for me is learning to manage myself for several hours of constant motion.  I am still learning how to do that as some of my fellow tri-club members can attest to.  🙂  Two things I love about triathlon training are the variety and the people:  You always have 2 other options for workouts of cardio (in addition to yoga and strength and conditioning) a luxury that rowers don’t have.  Second, since I’ve started training for triathlons, I have met some of the nicest and most knowledgeable people since my time in Syracuse.  Good people make the world go round!


What is your favorite race and why?  My favorite race of my athletic career (so far) was winning Canadian Henley in the U23 Men’s Eight. I was in a boat loaded with a ton of talent which ended up having a few future national and Olympic team athletes in it. We led from start to finish and it was one of the few races I remember feeling totally dominant. It was a really nice feeling to be in total control and just watch your boat step away from the field over 2000 meters.


What was your worst race and why?   Also at Canadian Henley, same week. I was in an even faster boat in the Men’s Senior Eight. We led the race for 1600 Meters by about a boat length (60ft). In the last 40 meters Vesper Boat Club reeled us as we were on fumes and nipped us at the line. We lost by a bow ball (think of a rubber golf ball on the bow tip of a boat). I don’t recall the last 150 meters of the race and don’t ever recall going harder in a race than that. It was extremely disappointing watching a competitor walk through you all the while being helpless to stop it. I learned a tremendous amount from the loss though – management and pace is the key to a well-executed race.

What races are on your calendar for 2013? 

Syracuse Half Marathon
SU Chargers Swim Meet
Syracuse 70.3
Caz Triathlon-Intermediate distance
Skinnyman Triathlon

What are this year’s goals?  Finish every race I enter in and get better each time I compete.

In 5 years I hope to…I am currently studying to be a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)….In five years I hope to be coaching/training athletes in the area, full time. I saw Syracuse was ranked 5th or 6th on Active for Triathlon communities in the US. My goal is to make us #1.


Something most people don’t know about you:  I am god awful when it comes to drawing or anything artistic – so I put my creative energy into cooking.

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