She takes one step at a time, then a stroke, then a pedal to get to the finish line in under an hour. Junior Bella Slosberg is not only an impressive student at the Ojai Valley School, but she is also a star athlete in the swimming, running, and biking realms – or in other terms, a triathlete.
Bella found a love for sports in her middle school years. Doing water polo and swim in her early teen years, she was able to develop a passion for water sports and competed with the Buena Ventura Swim Team.
“When I was younger, I had done a lot of sports and my dedication towards them only lasted a few months,” said Bella. “When I started swimming, it was different. I felt so passionately about it and my love for swimming did not fade away.”
However, as she matured and entered high school, her attitudes changed towards her passion for swimming. As it became increasingly more competitive, Bella began to fall out of the sport.
“The team was really competitive,” said Bella. “I was swimming with girls and boys who were going to the Olympics. I realized that I am decent at swimming but not amazing.”
As she entered high school, Bella continued to swim and transferred teams but she still had difficulty finding herself within the sport. As she came to the Upper Campus, the cross country team welcomed her with open arms and running sparked a new flame for her. But still, something was missing. She was not happy with her performances and still felt a sense of emptiness.
In the summer of 2017, all of her doubts about swimming and running changed. Bella’s friend recommended doing a triathlon together, and she immediately fell in love. The triathlon combined all of her favorite elements of each of the sports that she struggled to connect with individually. In that first triathlon, titled the “Breath of Life Triathlon,” Bella was inexperienced and had the wrong equipment. But that didn’t stop her from winning a first-place ranking.
Then, Bella hit the ground running.
She has competed in three triathlons since that summer. Bella competes in the sprint race, which consists of a 750-meter swim, a 20k bike ride, and ends with a 5k run. Participating in the Breath of Life, Renegade Off-Road, Castaic Lake, Santa Barbara, Legends triathlons in 2018 and 2019, Bella has put in hours of hard training that have led to her success.
With guidance from coach Nate Cohen, Bella has a workout plan that includes swimming five times a week, riding her bike three times a week, and running three times a week.
“Charles [her father] and I are proud of Bella and her accomplishments,” said her mother, Myr Slosberg. “I think training for a sport on your own, when you don’t have a team to train with is difficult, and this means that Bella has to find the internal motivation to train.”
Bella’s training has led her to many victories including a first-place finish for the Castaic Lake triathlon and two annual back to back wins in the Breath of Life Triathlon, all for her age group.
As the new year rolled around, Bella received the exciting news that she qualified for the Toyota USA Triathlon National Championships for her age group.
To qualify for the race, a competitor has to be racing in the top 25 placings of runners or finish in the top 3 of all of her races for her age group. Bella went beyond the qualifications and earned both of those records.
But her accomplishments do not stop there. Bella has placed on the podium for her age group in each race that she has participated in. She is ranked as the 6th female in California, 16th in the region, and 82nd in the nation.
The championship triathlon will take place in August in Milwaukee. Bella hopes to increase the difficulty of her race and enter the Olympic race which includes 1,500 meters of swimming,40 kilometers of biking, and a 10k run. Currently, Bella is still training with her coach and participating in races.
On February 15, Bella will compete in the Tritonman Triathlon in San Diego which will be the biggest and most elite race that she has done so far. Bella is eager to improve her overall time and gain more experience.
Though she consistently displays endless hard work in athletics, Bella’s true reason for her dedication to the sport isn’t about the recognition. She does triathlons because she loves them, and they have become a part of her.
“I am a triathlete,” said Bella. “It is nice to have this form of identity and to have this achievement as, in swim and cross country, I was not proud of my times and performances. But now, I actually am happy with what I am doing.”Share