Cameron Dorn began competing in triathlons in 2007 and within a year he reached the sport's elite level and was ranked as one of the top triathletes in South Carolina.
Lander University business major Cameron Dorn likes challenges, physical and academic. As a student at Ware Shoals High School, he played football and basketball because, he explained, "I've always been interested in running." That interest has become almost an obsession with Dorn who, at age 20, is one of the top-ranked triathletes in South Carolina.
He entered his first triathlon in 2007, and after competing in five events, he was rated number one overall among 16 to 19 year-olds. He also qualified for triathlon's elite designation which enables him to compete for purses of $5,000 or greater in USA Triathlon-sanctioned events.
Triathlons include swimming, biking and running various distances. Dorn competed in more than 30 events this year and finished the season ranked fifth in the open category in the South Carolina triathlon series. He won the YMCA Sprint series with four first place finishes and two seconds.
When asked why he is attracted to triathlons he said they enable him to "... push my mind and body to the limit." The 6-foot-1, 178-pound Dorn is a member of the TYB (Tri Your Best) triathlon team of 10 athletes who compete in high profile triathlons and other events.
In April, he was a last-minute entry in the Greenwood Medicine Chase 5K race and finished first overall. He learned about the event shortly after he got up that morning and barely made it to the starting line to register. He won the Healthy Heart 8K race in Abbeville, came in sixth of 294 competitors in the Parris Island triathlon at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, and won triathlons in Rock Hill, Pickens and Hilton Head.
This spring, while he was on a training run in Greenwood, Dorn ran 26 miles, the length of a marathon and the longest distance he had run up to that point. Now he has his eye on branching out into marathons and hopes to qualify for the granddaddy of them all: the April 2009 Boston Marathon, which attracts a field of 25,000 runners.
On Sept. 29, Dorn entered his first half ironman competition, which consists of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run. He came in ninth while shaving 14 minutes off the goal of four hours and 40 minutes that he set for himself.
Dorn's day usually begins at 6 a.m. when he launches into the first half of his twice-a-day training schedule at Lander and the Greenwood Family YMCA, where he works part time as a personal trainer. "My day is busy," he said, but he coordinates classes and study time with his training routine and competitive events, which are held on weekends.
Cameron Dorn spent a semester at the University of Winchester in Britain as part of Lander's Study Abroad program, and kept up with his rigorous training routine by bicycling through several European cities including Prague, in the Czech Republic.
While Dorn enjoys a top ranking as a triathlete, he has also distinguished himself academically. He is a junior majoring in business with a marketing management emphasis and has a 3.3 grade point average. He is a LIFE scholarship recipient, and in his freshman year, he was selected to participate in the Lander President's Leadership Program. After graduation, he plans to obtain a master's degree in international business marketing.
Dorn said the quality of the university's business program is what attracted him to Lander, plus it is only about 15 miles by car or bike from the campus to his home in Waterloo.
He traveled a long way from home at the start of his sophomore year when he spent the fall semester at the University of Winchester in Britain as part of Lander's Study Abroad Program. One of 20 Lander students who have studied at Winchester since 2006, Dorn said, "My interaction with the British and other foreign students gave me a broader perspective of the world. Lander emphasizes developing a worldview through experience outside the classroom."
Dorn took his bicycle with him to Winchester and pedaled his way across Europe combining sightseeing with his training routine. He biked through Southern England, where Winchester is located, and visited Paris, Venice, Brussels and Bruge in Belgium, Wales, Scotland and the Czech Republic.
In August, Dorn spent two weeks in Brazil visiting his girlfriend and Lander classmate Anna Luiza Zaia of Sao Paulo, a member of the Lady Bearcats tennis team. While in Brazil, Dorn took time off from training and spent his visit enjoying the sights.
Because of a desire to share his triathlon experiences with other Lander students, Dorn is forming a triathlon club under the auspices of the university's Campus Recreation Department. So far, he's recruited 12 members and said they will compete in at least seven triathlons beginning in March of 2009.
As for the future, Dorn plans to continue to divide his time between academics, his part-time job at the Greenwood YMCA and the rigorous training schedule that helps him stay in top physical condition. "My personal growth is directly linked to Lander's Study Abroad Program and competition as a triathlete. Those and other experiences have given me a strong sense of self-discipline and self-motivation."