Morse ’04 Swims, Bikes, Runs Through Sprint Triathlons, With Plans For Ironman

Everyone knows that PA sports teams dominate over their competition, but what goes unnoticed are Andover athletes who excel in sports that are too intense for the school to offer. And in the world of competitive sports, nothing is more extreme than the triathlon. Sure, PA offers cycling, swimming, and running, but you would have to be insane to combine all three. Or you could be Dave Morse ’04, who not only competed in three of these events, but also has plans to tackle longer ones. Already a cyclist and comfortable in the water, Morse attacked the idea of the competing in a sprint triathlon—a 500 meter swim, 11 mile bike, and 3 mile run. His training regimen was strict. Coming off a winning cycling season, Morse tacked on more training to an already intense regimen. Every week, he swam 6000 meters, biked 120 miles, and ran 15 miles. When the races started, Morse’s training paid off. He came in second place overall in his first triathlon with a current-assisted 4:50 swim time, a 27:35 bike time, and an 18:04 running time. Unfortunately, his second triathlon did not go as well. Struggling with his tire tubes, Morse started the race with a faulty front tire that blew out when Morse tried to gain distance on the competition. “I was passing people left and right,” he explained, “until my front tire blew out, leaving me, my bike, and a good amount of my skin on the pavement.” A crash like that would have ended the season for most athletes, but insanity seems to run with triathletes; Morse entered another sprint triathlon the next week, explaining, “[My crash] didn’t stop me from racing before I was healed.” However, his injuries took a toll to his time, adding on almost three minutes to his previous time of 53:04. The finish, however, was still good enough for a fourth place finish. With his summer dabbling into the triathlon a success, Morse now eyes competing in the Kona Ironman, one of the hardest physical competitions in the world. The Ironman is enough to overwhelm the toughest of athletes, comprised of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and a full 26.2-mile marathon. Morse is determined to complete an Ironman, giving credit to his sister for the idea. “She suggested that I be a triathlete back when I was about 11,” Morse said. “That thought must’ve stuck somewhere in the back of my head. In 8th grade, I promised myself I would win Ironman Hawaii.” While these were his first attempts tackling the triathlon, Morse is not new to the separate legs of the race. Before he came to Andover, he was a talented swimmer and mountain biker. At PA, he gave up swimming for Varsity Squash, but turned to water polo to maintain his abilities. He easily converted his mountain biking talents to road racing. Running, however, is hard for Morse, as he is too busy with his other sports commitments to concentrate on that leg. He said, “I don’t really get any running workouts at PA unless I do them on my own. That’s why the run is my weakest link.” However, Morse’s fastest 3-mile time this summer was a noteworthy 18:04, and that was after both the swim and bike portions of the race. Next summer, as he continues to train for his ultimate goal, the Kona Ironman, Morse plans to up the ante on both his training and competing. He not only wants to attain Elite status in the sprint triathlon, he wants to take a stab at a half Ironman. At this point, his three varsity sports and senior year at Andover are going to seem like the off-season.