Female Triathlete of the Year – Ann Bowman

Presented by Lisa Cox January 15, 2011

The definition of Triathlete of the Year from the Gulf Winds website is (an individual) “active in the club, whose love of triathlon is demonstrated not only in competition but also in commitment, service and inspiration.”

Something I didn’t know about this accomplished athlete was that her taste for competition began in a pool at the age of 3, picking up pennies to win a Fourth of July challenge, beating even the teenagers – finding this out made it clear why the Blue Springs of the July 4th Freedom Springs Triathlon beckons our competitor and her family to come and race year after year.  What a perfect way to remember her first love. I know the word ‘love’ is appropriate here because as I marveled at the abilities of our honoree after an afternoon of patient instruction from her, she said to me, “I LOVE swimming!”  Many of us have had encouraging guidance as we work on our stroke with this caring person, as service is important to her – probably the most important requirement for this award, in her eyes.

Our honoree has brought Disney to Gulf Winds when she coordinated almost 200 volunteers for the “Give a Day, Get a Day” program at 6 races, among them the 30K, The Flash and Springtime.  She has coordinated important aspects of the Red Hills Triathlon for almost a decade (including food & awards) and been a key volunteer for the Red Hills Kids race and YTS.  She has even taken her support out of town on several occasions, one being Ironman Florida 2010, where she worked alongside her son and friends along the run course.  Our honoree has worked as a volunteer at countless Gulf Winds functions, doing whatever was needed – even giving up her entry to race Springtime to fill in where a volunteer was desperately needed.

Our winner is committed to her sport. That little girl from the pool went on to win & set records in high school, swim on scholarship for FSU, and for this year:

  • completed 9 triathlons this season – the most for any female in the club
  • she won 1st overall female in 4 of the races she competed in
  • she was 1st masters and 3rd overall female at Tri the Rez
  • and she won top age group awards in the other 4 races she competed in
  • she clocked 4 of the top 10 sprint distance times in our club for females, most notably a 51:50 – this earned her the Gulf Winds Tri Club ‘Top Gun’ award, which she’ll receive Monday night

Our winner inspires so many of us, as she encourages us in our sport, but the most important person she inspires is her son every day as his mother, teacher and coach.  Her nurturing and love shows in his caring, competitive spirit.   He will be honored on Monday as top scorer for youth in the Triathlon Club for 2010.  
Wherever you see our honoree, her family is not far away, as it truly is a family effort with her.  Our winner joins her husband who was honored as Gulf Winds 2003 Triathlete of the Year. 

Please join me in congratulating the 2010 Gulf Winds Female Triathlete of the Year – Ann Bowman!