ARLINGTON, Va. – Collin Chartier was a standout swimmer at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax when he found out about a triathlon event from friend Ryan Mioduski, who swam at J.E.B. Stuart High in Falls Church.
"It was at Dewey Beach in Delaware. His mother is a really big Ironman athlete," Chartier recalls. "She was doing a lot of triathlons and she had an extra bike and he invited me to do a race. I had never ridden a bike in a triathlon."
"It was a great race and a fun experience," added Chartier, now a senior at Marymount. "The atmosphere at the race was really amazing and I was good at it. Those two things got me motivated."
The 5-foot-8 Chartier had competed in track and field as a freshman at Woodson and did cross country as a junior and senior while swimming all four years.
Eventually after that event in Delaware, he joined Endorphin Fitness, an elite Tri team based in Richmond. He is now in his fourth season on the triathlon team at MU and this past summer represented the United States at the World Championship Games in Nyon, Switzerland.
Chartier was second among USA runners and among the top finishers overall as the Americans captured a bronze medal as a team.
"He exceeded his expectations coming in. I would say he would agree," said Colorado-based Steve Kelley, the USA Triathlon U-23 director who was with the team in Switzerland. "He had a really strong finish. He is still relatively new in terms of elite competition experience. Most of the team was a bit more experienced than he is. He definitely showed quite a bit of potential. Maybe it was an eye opener for him."
Chartier followed up that international event by winning his first two races this semester: The Patriots Sprint in Williamsburg and The Richmond Rox.
"I wanted to go to both and use them as training," he said. "I wasn't peaking for them; I had a strategy and I wanted to be prepared. I went and had a plan and executed it and happened to win."
His next event will come Sunday, October 2 when he takes part in the 2016 Elite National Championship in New Orleans.
Chartier will be competing against about 70 men, many coming from running meccas such as Colorado and California. A few of them have competed in the Olympics.
"Some of these guys have been in the sport for 15 years," he noted.
"He is a very talented endurance athlete," Doug Baumgarten said. "He is going to be competing this week at an elite national championship that includes professionals as well as amateurs."
Chartier has competed against student-athletes from large colleges, such as Penn State, Colorado-Boulder, Stanford, Texas A & M and California-Berkeley.
"I think it is pretty neat to be in that national spotlight and be among some of the biggest names," said Chartier, who enjoys letting people know about Marymount.
Chartier is on track to graduate in the spring with a degree in health science with a focus on pre-physical therapy. He comes from an athletic family as his father, Ray, ran track and cross country at his high school in Rhode Island and his older brother, Josh, ran in college at Rice.
Chartier trains about 20 hours per week while running about 45 miles per week and riding bike close to 300 kilometers per week.
"What impresses me the most is his level of dedication," Doug Baumgarten added. "He is a very dedicated athlete. He is very disciplined about his training and scheduling and getting his school work done. I rarely see kids that age with that much focus."
With his success in triathlons, Chartier hopes to continue competing after he graduates. One goal is to make the U.S. national team and compete in the ITA World Triathlon Series.
"If the opportunities keep opening up like they have, like this summer, I want to pursue triathlon at the highest level," he said. "I want to see if I can go to Colorado and train with the national team."