Living up to her mantra of ‘let tough moments pass’, Danielle Lewis (née Dingman) has overcome all sorts of adversity to reach top-level triathlon racing.
Growing up South Florida, she was involved in various sports, but it was through running that she gained serious recognition. Lewis earned a full scholarship to Baylor University, where she earned All-American honors and qualified to compete in the steeplechase Olympic Trials.
However, after falling ill with mononucleosis and a vitamin D deficiency, she took a year off to recover and gained 50 pounds in the process.
After struggling with the mental challenge of not competing, Lewis started cycling to get back in shape and began thinking of a transition to triathlon.
There would be another sickening blow though for the American, when she fractured her shoulder while training. That prevented her from swimming.
Lewis’ aspirations then switched to becoming a professional cyclist, but yet more misfortune saw her fracture her back in an accident, seemingly ending her hopes of becoming a full-time athlete.
But after a few years away from competing, she could no longer suppress her lifelong ambition and began making her first steps into the world of professional triathlon.
In 2017, she won all three USAT duathlon national titles and finished third and fifth at the USAT Olympic and Sprint Distance Nationals respectively. She was also the first overall age group finisher in her IRONMAN 70.3 debut at Cozumel.
In 2018 Lewis reaped the rewards for her perseverance, earning her professional license and finishing a commendable 19th at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
The following year she cemented herself as one of the elite triathletes in the world with a win at IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 would prove to be a breakout year for Lewis. She picked up multiple 70.3 podiums and won the PTO-supported Bear Lake Brawl.
Away from the pressure of elite triathlon, her favourite cheat meal is ‘Southern cookin’, her song of choice is Panic at the Disco by High Hopes and she loves to holiday in Alabama.