Groff said she was a bit of a nerd growing up. She said she never wanted to eat lunch in the cafeteria and sometimes she and some friends would eat outside on the grass.
“I was the kind of kid who ate a handful of grass as a dare for a dollar,” she said. “That was the kind of person I was. It’s not like I was this super focused, athletic-driven kid who was just all about an Olympic dream. I had diverse interests shall we say.”
The soon-to-be-31-year-old competed in cross country, swimming and track in high school. She also sang in the choir, played French horn and enjoyed science.
Secondary Principal Michael Cring was her gym teacher, she recalled.
“I wish I could say that he taught me everything I knew, but one of my lowest grades ever at Cooperstown High School was in gym class. I think I even got in a little bit of trouble for being a little lazy. Hopefully I have redeemed myself with Mr. Cring,” she said.
Groff, who lives in Hanover, N.H., attended CCS through her sophomore year and finished school at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. She went to Middlebury College in Vermont where she was a Division III All-American in the freestyle. She double majored in conservation biology and studio art.
With graduation coming around the corner, Groff said she decided to pursue her triathlon interests.
“I had done a few of them, but I had not done anything too great. It was not like I was winning” she said. “I just thought it would be cool to take one thing and try to be really good at it. Well it turns out that one thing is really three things. I wanted to take that one aspect of something I had interest in and see how far I could get.”