Alexa Fisher is the very definition of a versatile athlete.
Entering her freshman year at Williamstown High School, Fisher plans to compete for the Braves on the cross country team in the fall, swim team in the winter and track and field team in the spring. Fisher also previously played soccer and field hockey as a kid. Yet none of those are Fisher’s best sport.
Fisher is one of the best triathletes in the region. Competing at the 2019 Atlantic City Triathlon on Aug. 10, Fisher finished with a personal-best time of 1:07.39 in the sprint triathlon. Her time was the best in the girls 15-and-under age group and was the seventh-fastest time out of all female competitors in the event.
“It’s a happy feeling,” Fisher said. “I’ve accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.”
There was little doubt Fisher would become a tri-athlete at some point. Both of her parents compete in triathlons, and her family is a part of the Williamstown Badgers Tri Club.
Fisher competed in her first triathlon about five years ago at the age of 10 and was able to pick up triathlons quickly thanks to having a lot of experience with two of the three legs. Fisher has been running since kindergarten, having gotten her start with a running club at her elementary school, Oak Knoll Elementary. Additionally, Fisher has swum for a number of years with the Greater Philadelphia Aquatic Club based out of Gloucester County Institute of Technology, as well as with Lake Kandle Swim Club in the summer.
Biking has been the one area where Fisher has had to work the most over the past five years. She has improved her times on the legs by training on the bike outside, as well as riding on a stationary bike in the basement at home.
Fisher also has gotten faster in the transitions of the race. Triathlon competitors begin with a swim, followed by a bike ride in the second leg and a run in the final leg. The two transition periods are crucial parts of the race where competitors can lose or gain time.
“Sometimes we’ll go and do stuff with the Badgers,” said Amy Fisher, Alexa’s mom. “One thing they’ll have is what we call a brick. It gets your body used to going from the biking to the run.”
As the years have gone on, Alexa has gained experience and confidence in the events she competes in. Her efforts have resulted in Alexa winning more than 20 medals over a period of five years.
Alexa competes in the sprint triathlon, a version of the triathlon where the distances are shorter than in the Olympic triathlon events. In a sprint triathlon, competitors complete a 0.25-mile swim, a bike ride of about 11 miles and a five-kilometer run.
This year was the fifth time Alexa competed in the sprint triathlon at Atlantic City. In recent years, she has used her past experiences to improve on her time in 2019.
“Last year (during the swim), she went a little farther back in the wave and she had a lot of people to pass,” Amy said. “This year, she wanted to move up.”
It wasn’t going to be easy for Alexa to improve her time. Her training for this year’s event was cut short due to an ankle injury sustained in the spring track season.
“Normally, I’d be out on the bike more, running a little bit more and swimming,” Alexa said. “This year, I only went out on the bike two or three times. My running was cut back too because of my ankle. I still swam a lot.”
Alexa had to face a different type of adversity during her 2019 race in Atlantic City. The race begins with a swim in the bay near Bader Field in Atlantic City. As Alexa completed her swim, she emerged on a concrete boat ramp leading competitors out of the water and toward the bike transition station. Alexa slipped as she came out of the water and scraped her knee.
“We ran out to transition. I was in transition and I’m yelling at my dad that my knee was bleeding,” she said.
There was no time to stop, however. Alexa continued her transition onto the bike for the second leg of the race a bike ride along the Atlantic City Expressway. The bike course takes riders down a few miles and then loops back to Bader Field for the start of the running leg.
“We got to the turnaround part (of the bike leg) and my knee’s still bleeding,” Alexa said with a laugh. “I thought, once we get done, my knee will be done (bleeding).”
The scraped knee wouldn’t slow down Alexa at all. When she crossed the finish line on the Atlantic City boardwalk, her time was at 1:07.39, nearly two full seconds better than her time of 1:09.07 from the same event in 2018.
“It felt good,” Alexa said of setting a personal best time, “because I didn’t think I was going to (set a best time) this year.”
“That day, it was like something just clicked,” Amy added. “Her competitiveness was just right there, ready to go. She came out in the swim and just running right into the transition.”
Alexa will bring some of her athletic talent to Williamstown High School beginning this fall with the cross country team. Regardless of how her high school athletic career plays out, however, Alexa plans to continue competing in triathlons for years to come. By the time she graduates high school, Alexa is hoping to compete in half-ironman triathlons, events where the course stretches for approximately 70 miles combined across all three legs.
“Out of all of the sports she does, this is her favorite,” Amy said. “She’s said it before and that’s what keeps pushing her.”