Balancing Physics with Physical: The Double-Life of a Student-Athlete

All Posts

Balancing Physics with Physical: The Double-Life of a Student-Athlete

Blog by Timmy Samec, Sponsored Athlete

2016 marks Timmy Samec’s third year as a sponsored Klean Team athlete. Timmy is a 22-year-old age-group triathlete currently attending Slippery Rock University, majoring in physics with a concentration in computational biophysics, and is co-founder and president of the Slippery Rock University Triathlon Club. He aspires to attend graduate school to obtain a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and a PhD in Biophysics. When not studying, his focus is triathlon, where he hopes to continue to improve and eventually obtain a professional license and race on the international IRONMAN® 70.3 and IRONMAN® circuit.

We asked Timmy to discuss the balancing act that is life as a full time student-athlete. It’s not for everyone, and it sure isn’t easy. How exactly does someone fit it all in? Timmy explains.

Wake up, eat, train, differential equations, train, eat, quantum mechanics, advanced physics laboratory, train, eat, study, sleep…repeat.

This is just a general outline of my double life as a full-time student and full-time triathlete. Sprinkle in some research hours, running two clubs and a splash of a social life, and you can dip into the red fairly quickly. It certainly isn’t easy as a physics and computational biophysics major, but it keeps my head on straight and forces me to really manage my time efficiently so everything gets done. Certainly isn’t glamorous either, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Most of us are familiar with the schedule of an age-group/collegiate triathlete as far as training goes. It’s always rigorous, and keeping the mind and body sharp is extremely important.  Luckily, I have my friends, family and sponsors to keep all of that in line. But let’s take a look at some of the things that many people do not see that lie behind the scenes of a collegiate triathlete. First off, we are self-supported. Triathlon is only an emerging NCAA sport for women, so the old “broke college student” cliché really is the truth here. This is a choice we all make consciously, and the social sacrifices are many. But hey, we get our social time in on long rides and runs, right? Plus, if you qualify, collegiate athletes get to make up for all the lost social time by racing at USAT Collegiate Nationals! That’s DEFINITELY the best thing about being a collegiate triathlete. Picture the atmosphere at a college football or basketball game, but with around 100 schools there!

Now everyone knows about college students always searching for extra cash, especially us triathletes, but let’s forget about that. Every triathlete understands the cost of things in this sport. Allow me to focus individually on the next quick topic: classes. Whenever I meet someone for the first time, either at a race or anywhere else, they ask what my major is. So I proceed to tell them what I told you earlier and each reaction is the same: wide eyes and, “Wow that sounds like a lot of fun!” It’s something that you only understand if you do it or have done it, but balancing a heavy course load and training properly as a collegiate triathlete is sometimes a real act of magic. No matter what your major is, this will always be difficult. Even I sometimes don’t know how everything gets done! I am very lucky to have the great support of the physics and pre-engineering department at SRU. I’m positive that the support of my professors, friends, family and sponsors is what allows me to not only do what I do, but find success at it.

While this was a shorter little info-blog, I hope you have gained a bit of insight as to what life is like as a full-time student and triathlete. Huge shout-out to Klean Athlete for all of their support and thanks for allowing me to put this together! To see more of my blog and vlog postings, head to!

You can follow Timmy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

* Required