My name is Justin Carestia, I am 21, and attend the University of Maryland College Park.
I started club swimming when I was 8 and swam competitively until my last year of high school. I wanted to find something new to do after I quit swimming, and a friend who I used to swim with who had gotten into Triathlon was telling me how much he enjoyed it, so I thought I would give it a try.
Some of the anxieties and perceptions I had before taking up triathlon included the misconception that triathlon was an older person sport and that I would not find many people my age, I thought that road biking was going to be hard and stressful, and I thought that open-water swimming would be just as easy as pool swimming. I was wrong about all of these!
I have met a lot of triathletes my age, some as young as 12, and some as old as 72; I’ve learned that age really doesn’t matter in triathlon. Open-water swimming was the toughest transition for me, it took some time to adjust my technique from pool swimming and now I prefer open-water swimming over everything else!
I joined HMC in 2016, and I started triathlons the same year. I have benefited a lot by joining a triathlon club; training with HMC helped me improve my cycling skills; after joining the group rides I have become more comfortable riding on busy roads.
If there was any advice I would have given to myself before I started or advice to new members is not to be afraid to ask questions and seek help, there are lots of team members who can teach you and improve your skills.
My favorite Triathlon moment was in my first triathlon (General Smallwood Sprint Tri), I met a guy called Neal at my transition rack. He was in his late 40’s and an experienced triathlete; I was very nervous for my first race and he helped me out, gave me a lot of advice before the race and let me borrow one of his bib number holders. He also cheered me on when I was on my final run loop and met me at the finish line. This will always be my favorite race moment because this was a guy who I never met before, who took the time to help me in my first race and ensured I enjoyed it.
Favorite Race Pic: Swim Around Key West