David Nguyen pumped his legs up and down on a stationary bike outside of UW-Madison's Natatorium, keeping up both a steady cadence and banter with the other students in the triathlon training class.
The 23-year-old said he feels lucky to be taking the class. The course is slated to be eliminated after this spring.
"It seems like there are other classes that could be cut before this one," Nguyen said.
"Yeah, like calculus," joked another student.
That exchange illustrates the university's dilemma. Faced with historic budget cuts, officials say they decided to cut 29 physical education classes viewed as non-essential, including triathlon training, in order to preserve core classes needed for graduation. Others on the chopping block are mainly 1-credit elective classes, including fencing, windsurfing, fly fishing, badminton, ice skating, tennis and bowling.