Caroline Steffen was born in Spiez and began her early competitive career as a swimmer. She enjoyed success as a swimmer competing on the Swiss junior and senior national teams and winning multiple national titles. In 2002, Steffen underwent shoulder surgery and would eventually retire from competitive swimming afterwards.
After taking some time off Steffen competed in a two-day Swiss multisport competition, the Gigathlon, which reignited her desire to compete and train again. In 2006, after having completed a few Olympic distance triathlons she entered and placed second in her age group at Ironman Switzerland, posting a sub-10 hour time. She went on to compete at the 2006 Ironman World Championships in Hawai’i where she posted another sub-10 hour time and placed third in her age group as an amateur.
Steffen moved to Australia and eventually quit her job to focus on triathlon training in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast. Steffen began enjoying successes at the 70.3 and Ironman distances which caused her to gain the attention of coach Brett Sutton who eventually invited her to join team TBB and earning the nickname “Xena the Warrior Princess” or simply “Xena.”
In 2009, Steffen took fourth place the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida. A few months later she won her first major race, the Ironman 70.3 in Geelong in February 2010. She highlighted 2010 with a win at the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships and a second place at the Ironman World Championships.
Q & A
When did you first start training in life? Where and why?
When: I was 12, swam once a week with my swim squad. Where: in Spiez (Switzerland). Why: I was allowed to leave the school 15min earlier to catch the bus – reason enough to start my swim career.
One sport wasn’t enough? What got your into the multi-sport arena?
It was a two days adventure race in 2005 which brought me closer to the triathlon, specifically to the long distance.
When did you turn pro?
it was 2009 after crossing the finish line at the Ironman Port Macquarie. My partner David gave me a hug and said: “ you have the potential to be a PRO”.
What are the events, wins, memories that stand out most throughout your career so far?
It was my 2nd place at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii 2010 – It felt like I won the race.
What is your best discipline and why?
The bike. I have a 2 year background as a professional cyclist.
If you had a discipline that needed work, which would it be and why?
Transition 2 - still can't figure out why, but I always lose so much time jumping from my bike into my running shoes.
Preferred race day outfit …
Our Team TBB 2XU two piece race kit
If there is one thing that people in the industry would recognize you by, what would that be?
My courageous action/mission every race and my pink Oakley sunnies.
Who was your inspiration growing up?
Michael Gross (ex German swimmer)
What has driven you to work super hard and rise up beyond mediocrity?
I learned quickly, hard work is rewarded with success and unique emotions.
Are you a rebel? Why or why not?
I`m a rebel and I don’t have a cause.
What is your favorite course?
I love Hawaii/Kona. It’s the biggest race of the year and everyone is there to race hard.
What is the venue that you purely dread and why?
Caverns, narrow passages, dark indoor pools … claustrophobia
Finish this sentence: “Oakley is __________"
… my best training buddy every single day.
If you weren’t killing it in the tri scene, what would you be doing for a living?
I would have my own Beach Coffee or Swiss Bakery at the Sunshine Coast, Australia.
What is a hidden talent you have other than your sport?
My big talent is being late and moving things which I don’t like to do, to the next day. I`m good with numbers/math or creative things.
What is the best song to practice to?
I`m a big fan of Rammstein. Especially in tough sessions, their songs give me a kind of aggressiveness.
If you had to share a hotel room/apartment with one Oakley athlete, who would it NOT be and why?
Oh that’s Cadel Evans - he would not get a second of sleep during all my questioning. I`m a big road cycling fan!!!
Tell me a funny story about another Oakley athlete...(We’ll never tell)
At Cran Ganaria I pass Fabian Cancellara every day on my bike and get so excited every time. I don't even have the guts to say hello. I'll try it the next day again … and again … and again.
People would be super surprised if they knew that you…
How addicted I am to café and chocolate.
At the beach with a “Mooloolaba-Magic” in my hand.
Xena Warrior Princess
Food: Italian Food
Vacation Spot: Four Seasons, Koh Samui
Candy: Everything made out of chocolate
Sport (Besides your own): Road Cyclingl
Holiday: Christmas: its off season, a lot of yummy food and you get some gifts
Music Genre: Electro
Movie: The Perfume
Any last words??
Even if it's hard, never forget to enjoy the moment and be aware not everybody has the privilege to do sport.