Angel Spotlight

Meet Captain Kayla’s IRONMAN Team!

September 5, 2017

THE SWIMMER: BARB

Barb is an HR Trainer, working for the Oneida Nation and is also an enrolled Oneida member.  She runs a small business out of my home called, Endless Pool where she coaches individuals in swimming.

“I have worked with beginners (kids and adults) to professional athletes, college swimmers and Olympic trial qualifiers. I also help local coaches with swim clinics as well as offer swim clinics in my spare time!  Since I work full-time and coach part-time (with my business), it doesn’t leave me much time much else. I raised two great kids (now adults) by myself, and have a black lab who makes sure she gets at least two walks a day!  Most importantly, I live a very physically active lifestyle! I typically swim 5-6 days a week, love to bike ride, and kayak. This year I also started strength  training, but I’ll get to that in later answers below!”

Barb’s first race with myTEAM TRIUMPH -WI was the Lake Winnebago Triathlon.  (Thanks toAshley Nelson who encouraged her to sign up!!)

“The reason I signed up is because I LOVE to swim, but have competed in swimming for 45 years, and it’s fun, but it has deeper meaning when I’m doing it so that someone who doesn’t have a strong physical body can experience the joy of a race as I have for my whole life. I have had the limelight so many times, and it’s such an amazing experience, I really feel everyone deserves that chance for people to be cheering their heads off and encouraging you.

“I also have a very soft place in my heart for people with physical and mental disabilities. I got involved with Special Olympics when I was in high school, with my first “job” to cheer Special Olympians on as they raced in the pool. It was one of the best days of my life, I think I got more out of it than they did! I also coached a special Olympian named Joe. He was incredibly talented! I taught him how to do his first flip turn! I also worked with Special Education Physical Education for the Stevens Point Area School District – as the student director at UWSP while I was in college. My swim coach asked me to apply for this position, somehow knowing I would love this experience. While working with kids with all sorts of disabilities, I feel most alive! They will always have a special place in my heart!”

Barb competed in 2016 Ironman Wisconsin with Captain Nathan. She describes this as a great experience!

“Although Nathan can’t talk, I felt like we got to know each other well. My favorite memory from this race was when he asked me for my extra pair of goggles while we were about to enter the water minutes before the race. He wore those goggles through the entire swim, and the pictures show that!”

After last year’s “DNF”, Barb knew that she needed one more opportunity in that water and if ever given that opportunity, she would take it.  That opportunity she wanted came sooner than she expected when word came out that Captain Kayla needed a swimmer.

What Does Training Look Like for an Ironman?


“Training schedule is swimming around 15,000 yards a week, with a goal of one being a long swim and one being a “pulling” swim. I also strength train three days a week. Prior to signing up, I was swimming four days a week, maybe 10,000 yards. Some weeks I pull my kayak on the bay, some weeks I pull a parachute in the water. The strength training has been the hardest, with some workouts ending in me just laying on the floor for several minutes, thinking about why I’m working so hard. As I lay on the floor exhausted, I always think of Kayla going through the finisher shoot at Ironman. It makes it all worth the sweat and sometimes tears! Yes, I have cried after some of the strength training workouts!!!  I fit it all in my planning my weeks very carefully and not doing some things like cleaning the house every week! Something has to give, and during the end of July and beginning of August, there were weeks that very little outside of training and race days, eating, sleeping and working, not much else happened (well, the dog got her walks though).”

How is Barb feeling coming into Ironman Week?


“I always have some race day anxiety. I’ve been doing this so long, I feel it’s normal and can handle it…maybe it’s mostly excitement, but the anxiety is – will I be good enough? I know at this point I’ve done everything needed to be faster than last year if I have similar swimming conditions…so today, just looking forward to race day!”


Barb will have her daughter and many friends watching her on race day (both in Madison and on social media). Make sure you watch Barb and the rest of the team on Sunday, September 10 via our Facebook page (@myteamtriumphwi) as they compete in @IRONMANWisconsin!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *