O’Connor, a senior runner from Phoenix, AZ, and the third-year president of the Tri-Frogs sports program, was on a mission during the race. He took first place with a time of 1:57:52, besting second place by over six minutes.
It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that he began participating in triathlons, but O’Connor has put in the hard work necessary for success.
His weekly training routine is anywhere from 12 to 18 hours, which consists of running, biking, and swimming – all the elements of a triathlon – about five to six times a week.
O’Connor said the morning of the race was very humid. The water temperature was measured at 81 degrees, which is close to the competition cutoff of 82.4 degrees. Water temperature is a major factor for triathletes, as a swimmer died in 2010 from heat stroke in 87 degree water.
O’Connor’s strong swimming background from high school helped tremendously on Monday, when he had the best swim split in the competition.
“We had to swim right out from the start, so I just went hard at it, and didn’t look back.” O’Connor said.
“I knew I had a pretty sizable lead, so toward the end I just kicked back a little so I could enjoy it.”
O’Connor said he began to hallucinate near the end of the race when he saw a friend standing near the finish line.
He collapsed once he crossed the finish line, overcome by heat exhaustion with a body temperature measuring 104 degrees. He recovered on an IV and was able to cool down in the medical tent.
O’Connor, a health and fitness major, plans on working for a corporate wellness company as a personal trainer and diet advisor.
He also has an aspiration to qualify and race as a professional in 2016.
The Austin TriRock is one of four races in the South-Midwest Collegiate Triathlon Conference that determines who earns top seeding at the USAT Collegiate Nationals in Clemson, SC, in March.
O’Connor will be competing next week at the Trifecta Triathlon with his coach on Sept. 20 at Possum Kingdom Lake before attempting a Half Ironman in Austin on Nov. 8.