Quintana Roo triathletes Kelly and Meghan Fillnow are twin sisters who grew up competing against each other — constantly pushing the other to become a better athlete. Today, they are passionate about triathlon and work together to coach and inspire others to achieve their triathlon goals. Read their stories – how competing as twins, then and now, has led them to pursue their dreams.
What was it like growing up as twins, competing against each other in sport?
Kelly - "I grew up playing all sports with my twin sister. We always had someone to shoot hoops with or practice our soccer skills with in the backyard. If she was out practicing, I was too. We pushed each other to become better athletes and learned valuable work ethic skills from each other.
We were a dynamic duo in all of our sports because we had an unfair advantage of knowing each other so well that we would know where the other one would be!"
Meghan - "Our coaches were considerate and generally put us on different courts, so we didn’t have to compete against each other very often. When we did have to play each other at tournaments, it was rough because neither us wanted to win or lose!
The hardest part about being a competitive athlete as a twin was the constant comparisons from people. My sister played #1 for our college tennis team, and I played #3, so I struggled with feeling inadequate. Eventually, I realized my worth is not in what I do, but who I am, so I was able to overcome the comparison trap."
How did your triathlon careers start, and what motivated you to pursue the sport?
Kelly - "In high school, my twin sister, brother and I moved to Hilton Head Island to train at a tennis academy to pursue our dreams of getting Division I scholarships. A few years after college athletics, I got bored with just going to the gym and working out with my friends. One of the guys I lifted with asked me to try a triathlon.
I had no idea what a triathlon was and did not know how to swim. He told me I had six weeks to learn how to swim. Somehow, on a borrowed bike with no air in the tires, I managed to finish third female. I was hooked. I was thrilled to find a new adventure to challenge my mind and body. I never would have imagined that my newly found passion would turn into my career path."
Meghan - "Kelly got into triathlon before me, but eventually I followed in her footsteps. She now competes as a pro, and I compete as an amateur, which is great because we never have to compete against each other.
We definitely push each other and help each other to stay motivated and enjoy the journey. Kelly is also my coach - she believes in me and has helped me to do what I thought was impossible in sport. She started a coaching business (Fillnow Coaching) while I was an elementary school teacher, and she kept asking me to join her company."
Kelly - "I finally convinced Meghan (the non-risk taker) to join me. She is an incredible athlete, coach and motivator."
Kelly - "Despite strikingly different personalities, we have the same vision for the company and the same why. We have the absolute greatest team of coaches who are so incredibly talented, and I love being on this journey together.
It is certainly challenging balancing training as a professional triathlete, coaching athletes, managing the business, and growing the business, but I would not want it any other way. Meghan and I have the opportunity to chase our dreams in sport together while inspiring our athletes to reach their full potential. They see us working hard. They see us paying attention to details, but the right details. They come alongside our successes and failures. As they watch us attempt to chase excellence, they realize they can do the same because we are just like them - trying to get the best out of ourselves in the time that we have."
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