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USU Student Makes Splash in Armed Forces Athletics

Davis Frease poses arms crossed for a photo on the field. Taking a breather, ENS Davis Frease poses for a photo on the track while training to compete in elite-level armed forces triathalons. (Image credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rob Ferrone)
By MC3 Rob Ferrone

Becoming an accomplished triathlete is no small task. You have to be dedicated, resilient and willing to set aside a lot of time for arduous, regimented training. 

Davis Frease swims in a lap pool
ENS Davis Frease swims laps at the pool as part of his training to
compete in elite-level armed forces triathalons. (Image credit: U.S.
Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rob
Now imagine balancing that training and competition while finishing your final year of medical school. It may sound like a handful, but Navy Ensign Davis Frease is doing just that. 

Frease has been participating in endurance sports for the last five years.  Although he grew up with a father who was an elite triathlete, Frease didn’t really start running until the mid-2000s.  In his final year of college, he put on some significant extra weight and initially started running to shed the pounds.  Once he discovered he was actually good at running, he began racing competitively. 

Frease has been afforded the opportunity to race both internationally and for three U.S. military championships throughout his three and a half years at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU). Now, with graduation on the horizon, he’ll be racing for a fourth.

This season, Frease joins the U.S. Military Endurance Sports (USMES) Elite team. USMES is comprised of international-class cyclists, triathletes, runners and para-athletes, all of whom are either active duty, reservists or veterans. He will be one of four triathletes representing U.S. Armed Forces sports at this level. 

Dvais Frease, in full biking gear, rides a bike on the road
ENS Davis Frease competes in the 2017 Ironman 70.3
SuperFrog. (Image credit: Ironman)
“I’m incredibly humbled to have the opportunity to race alongside some of the best runners, cyclists, triathletes, and para-athletes in the U.S. military community. The support of USMES in the coming year will be integral in my continued progression as a triathlete to even higher echelons of the sport,” Frease said. “I’m committed to emptying the tank every time I race this year knowing that I am representing USMES. More than anything I’m looking forward to interacting with the broader USMES community and doing everything I can to promulgate their mission: to promote endurance sports as part of a healthy lifestyle to active duty and veteran service members.”

So how does he recommend balancing active duty life, medical school and racing at the elite level?

“Make sure that you’re able to manage your time effectively only with school first, before pursuing something like elite athletics,” Frease said. “That’s the most important building block. And find someone who understands the culture we’re in to kind of guide you along in your progression. It’s important for me to have a coach who understands the time constraints of school and can help me work around that to still train successfully.”

ENS Davis Frease completes the running portion of the 2017
Ironman 70.3 SuperFrog. (Image credit: Ironman)
Aside from the immense amount of hard work and commitment Frease himself displays, he attributes a lot of his success to the support of the University, particularly the Office of Student Affairs.

“During my MS2 year, when I traveled to South Korea as a member of the U.S. delegation for the World Military Games in the midst of the reproductive and endocrine module,” Frease said, “both Student Affairs and the module directors went above and beyond, allowing me to miss two weeks of the module, and subsequently make up the work I had missed upon my return.”   
But if not for Frease’s dedication, juggling school and racing wouldn’t be such a smooth transition, if even possible at all.

“I made a promise to myself that if school started to slip in any way, racing would be the first thing to go,” Frease said. “That promise I made has kept me motivated to stay on top of my school work, while still training. Time management has been really critical for me in my med school progression; budgeting that time, budgeting sleep to make sure I accomplish everything I set out to do.”  Frease also said that if you’re focused on the goal, and you prioritize correctly, then it’s a feasible goal to have.

Through medical school and rigorous, elite level athletic training, Frease has continued to impress and become an embodiment of commitment and perseverance. His outlook and work ethic is sure to continue to benefit him, whether it be on the track, or in the field.