Joanna’s love for athletics began in the pool. Growing up in San Diego, Joanna quickly joined a local swim team at the age of 7 and remained on one until college. In gradual steps, Joanna improved her swimming skills to the extent that she was able to participate in U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in 1988 and again qualified for the Olympic Swimming Trials in 1992. Brown University swimming was her next challenge after graduating from Patrick Henry High School in 1988.
At Brown, Joanna earned All-Ivy honors while setting several school swimming records in long-distance free-style. She proudly and honorably represented the United States in swimming at the 1989 Maccabiah Games in Israel earning a Gold, Silver and 2 Bronze medals.
Hampered with temporary swimming injuries, Joanna turned to running in 1992 to provide herself a needed athletic release. It was a quick fit and just what the doctor ordered. A year later, cycling found its way into Joanna’s heart with a borrowed bike. With enthusiastic training, the three disciplines jelled shortly thereafter leading to an age-group win at the Muncie Endurathon and a slot at the Hawaii Ironman Championship. Success at several triathlons including a 9th place finish at Hawaii Ironman earned Joanna Amateur Triathlete of the Year honors in 1997, providing her the confidence to turn pro the following year.