This American started swimming in high school. He studied Mechanical Engineering at Purdue, and went into cycling and triathlon. After college he got a job at Caterpillar Inc and continued to improve in triathlons. In 2006, he started racing at the professional level while maintaining his job at Caterpillar. In 2008 he started to become competitive in the biggest races in the country coming off the bike 1st at the US Open triathlon and Half Ironman World Championships. This gave Andrew the confidence to leave Caterpillar and chase the dream of succeeding as a professional triathlete.
2009 brought Andrew his first professional win, multiple podiums, and leading off the bike again at Half Ironman World Championships setting the fastest half Ironman bike split in history.
In 2010 and 2011 he continued to break out earning wins in each of the 3 major distances (Olympic, Half Ironman, and Ironman) and was crowned the Rev3 Series Champion in 2011.
2012 was not what he expected, while leading at Abu Dhabi Triathlon a volunteer ran across the road and collided with him sending both of them to the hospital. After being released from the hospital he was jailed in the Emirates for attempted manslaughter and was unable to return home for over a month while also trying to cope with the pain of misdiagnosed injuries. In May Andrew had surgery with Dr Romeo to rebuild the labrum and within 5 months he was healthy enough to be back competing at the top level of triathlon winning his comeback race at Rev3 South Carolina and Ironman Florida.
All the obstacles Andrew has faced has made him stronger and more determined...he is a winner in our books and continues to achieve wonderful results. Stay tuned!
How long have you been a triathlete?
1st triathlon 2001
1st professional level triathlon 2006
1st season full time professional triathlon 2009
Do you think your education or your career has helped to prepare you mentally for racing?
Yes, I think my education has helped me get to race day more efficiently, but once the cannon has fired it is all animal instincts based on my training.
Have you been an athlete all your life or did you have some sort of epiphany that got you into it?
I have been active in sport like all kids, for me it was mainly soccer. My parents encouraged me to stay in sports to “stay out of trouble” in high school where I continued with soccer but discovered a love for the water in swimming and water polo. When I went to Purdue sport was a break from studying and a great group of friends to hang out with. Water Polo was the choice sport at first being able to take out frustrations on opponents, but it was at college where I got seriously into cycling and triathlon. When I started at Caterpillar I said I would continue in cycling and traithlons as long as I was having fun and improving. I was always active in sports doing them as an outlet with the goal to win but I was never the best. I was just a hard worker trying to achieve my goals.
What do you do when you're not training or racing?
I love to follow auto racing during the summer and hang out with family and friends. During the winter you will find me snowmobiling or downhill skiing.
Tell us the main differences you see between physical and mental strength.
The biggest difference is physical strength can be measured, mental strength cannot.
When you feel you can’t go any further, when you want to give up, what goes through your mind? What does your body tell you and what does your mind come back with?
Can’t go further? Give up? Never. Everybody is hurting out there and anybody that says they suffer more is lying to themselves. I just focus on what I can control and that is driving myself forward as efficiently as possible.
How do you normally feel before the start of a race?
I feel electric. I am cold no matter how warm the air is and have this rage that needs to be released…no Zen racing here.
In triathlon is it necessary to have inner strength? Be made of iron maybe?
You need to be driven by something to push yourself. Your heart is beating so hard you can’t speak, it hurts to breathe, body weakened by the sustained relentless pace, your mind is foggy from mental strain of hours of focus and pain your driving force better be a great one to conquer the race in a way that you will look back at it and smile and say…That was a great day!
- ANDREW STARYKOWICZ
- United States
Fastest bike split IM Kona 2013 and IM 70.3 Bike Split records holder