USA Triathlon celebrated the accomplishments of four distinguished multisport athletes on Thursday night at the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The ceremony was held at Windows on the River in Cleveland, in conjunction with the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships taking place here Saturday and Sunday.
Four-time U.S. Olympian Hunter Kemper was the sole elite-athlete inductee, formally announcing his retirement from professional triathlon as part of the ceremony. Mike Reilly, the “Voice of IRONMAN,” and age-group multisport standouts Donna Smyers and James “Jim” Ward (posthumous), were also honored. The inductees, who make up the Hall of Fame’s ninth induction class, were joined by nearly 200 friends, family members and fans of triathlon for the evening of celebration.
Two-time U.S. Olympic wrestler and 1996 Olympic silver medalist Matt Ghaffari delivered the keynote speech. Ghaffari, a local Clevelander, spoke about what it means to be successful at the highest levels of amateur and professional sport. He emphasized the importance of self-improvement every day, a practice he valued throughout his storied athletic career.
“The first time I wrestled (Russian Aleksandr Karelin), I lost 11-1. The last time I wrestled him, it was overtime in the Olympic finals, 1-0,” Ghaffari said. “I could live with that. I closed the gap, I got better. If you take one message with you tonight: each day, strive to get better and better than yesterday. Today, just try to be better than yesterday, a little bit braver. Something different. Challenge yourself.”
USAT COLLEGIATE CLUB AND HIGH SCHOOL NATIONALS TUSCALOOSA, AL APRIL 27-28, 2018
Go to any high school or collegiate contest and you notice the unmistakable energy of youthful athletes and fans. School chants, fight songs and air horns fill the air, while flags, mascots and costumes create a visually vivid landscape. This weekend’s USA Triathlon Collegiate Club and High School Nationals delivered an experience that was exponentially more electric than your typical collegiate competition. A rolling sea of team tents covered 1100 athletes from 109 colleges. Schools from coast to coast brought their school spirit, competitiveness and the best demonstrations of sportsmanship at what is arguably the highest level of competition for High School and Collegiate triathletes.
While they competed fiercely for individual and team standings, athletes gave each other high-fives and hugs at the start and finish lines. They encouraged each other on the course and celebrated in the post-race ice bath pools. For all the competitive grit, sprint finishes, and gut-wrenching efforts, the culture of triathlon was evidenced in encouragement on the course and concern at the medical tent.
Due to heavy rainfall in Tuscaloosa the past two weeks, the Holt Dam spillway gates were opened by local officials to avoid flooding. Heightened volume in the Black Warrior River necessitated that the gates remain open through race weekend, resulting in overly strong currents that were deemed unsafe for swimming. USAT officials announced a course change mid-week. All races will be shifted from a triathlon (swim-bike-run) to a duathlon (run-bike-run) to ensure athlete safety.
Colorado teams had a great showing. At the Olympic distance, CU’s Men’s and Women’s teams came in second to the Naval Academy and UC Berkeley respectively. CSU Women placed 5th and Men 9th. USAFA Women came in 11th and Men’s 12th. Colorado School of Mines Women came in 47th and Men 55th. Combined scores put CU in 2nd, CSU in 7th, USAFA 9th and CSM in 49th.
CU Buffs Roy Madrid and Timothy Winslow finished 2nd and 3rd behind the University of California’s Sean Harrington, who took the Men’s race with a 1:33:58. The Women’s champion was Stephanie Murphy of US Naval Academy and CSU’s Katrina Lems was Colorado’s first Woman in 8th place. In the High School contest, Austin Podhajsky and Jack Deweerdt from Parker, Colorado took 2nd and 3rd respectively behind the Male winner Drew Shellenberger. Cassidy Hickey of Parker, Colorado took 2nd behind the Female winner Gillian Cridge.
For the 2018 National Championship season, USA Triathlon is excited to debut a new USA Triathlon Events app for Apple and Android smartphones. Through a new partnership with SportStats USA and Real Time Race Tracking (RTRT.me), USA Triathlon’s national events will be featured on the new app. Athletes, spectators, family, and friends will be able to follow the progress of athletes as they race through each of USA Triathlon’s National Championships. Though the whole season schedule will be listed, currently, only USA Triathlon’s four owned national championships will feature live athlete tracking in the app: Duathlon, Collegiate Club and High School, Youth and Junior, and Age Group National Championships.
Who knew? It’s simple, lightweight AND legal… and no, it’s not a safety device…
There is a tool that not only helps execute one of the most nerve-wracking disciplines of the sport but is also lightweight, inexpensive and legal to use in any USA Triathlon Sanctioned Race in the U.S. What is this magic device?
No one chooses triathlon it for its simplicity. With so many moving parts and countless pieces of equipment and gear, it’s easy to overlook or simply disregard an argument for one more thing to add to your seemingly endless packing list. However, there is a tool that not only helps execute one of the most nerve-wracking disciplines of the sport but is also lightweight, inexpensive and legal to use in any USA Triathlon Sanctioned Race in the U.S. What is this magic device? A snorkel.
A little-known fact is the snorkel is completely legal to use without restriction and without penalty in USA Triathlon racing events in the United States. We reached out to Certified Official Tom Reilly for full disclosure:
“Snorkels are legal equipment for use by triathletes under the USA Triathlon competitive rules. USAT rules outline what you cannot do versus what you can do. Swimming conduct is covered under Article IV in the USA Triathlon competitive rules. Nowhere under Article IV is the use of a snorkel prohibited. Note that 4.9 Illegal Equipment under Article IV, several things that cannot be used are specified during the swim. The use of a snorkel is not one of them. However, keep in mind that this applies only to events using USAT competitive rules. Others such as ITU and WTC may not allow snorkels.”
World Triathlon Series opener features thrilling sprint-distance course
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Eight American athletes are set to compete in the ITU World Triathlon Series opener in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Friday, taking on a stacked international field.
The sprint-distance race, which covers a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run, is held on the iconic Yas Island. The course is built for fast and furious racing, with portions of the bike and run taking athletes around the Yas Marina Formula One circuit. The elite men race first at 4:36 a.m. EST (1:36 p.m. local time), and the elite women follow at 6:36 a.m. EST (3:36 p.m. local time). Both races will be broadcast live online at triathlonlive.tv.
Five U.S. women will toe the line on Friday, including 2016 U.S. Olympian and 2017 WTS overall bronze medalist Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.). Zaferes had a stellar 2017 season that included two regular-season WTS podiums in Edmonton and Yokohama, in addition to her silver-medal performance at the Rotterdam ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.
Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) and Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), who finished fourth and 10th respectively in the 2017 WTS rankings, will also look for strong season-opening performances. Kasper earned four top-five finishes on the WTS circuit last year, including a bronze in Yokohama.
Cook was also consistent in 2017, earning a season-best fourth-place finish at ITU World Triathlon Edmonton and placing ninth at the Grand Final in Rotterdam. She and Zaferes are the only two Americans on the start list who have reached the top step of the WTS podium, with Cook winning ITU World Triathlon Edmonton in 2016 and Zaferes taking the win at ITU World Triathlon Hamburg in 2016.
Also set to compete are Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), who earned her first WTS medal with a silver in Leeds last year, and Chelsea Burns, who cracked the ITU Triathlon World Cup podium for the first time in 2017.
The U.S. women will be up against stiff competition, as 2017 world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda and 2017 WTS overall silver medalist Ashleigh Gentle of Australia lead the start list. Defending WTS Abu Dhabi champion Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand, Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth, Canada’s Joanna Brown and the Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer will also be medal threats. Visit wts.triathlon.org for a complete women’s start list.
Representing the U.S. in the men’s race are Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.), Ben Kanute (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.). McDowell will look to build on a successful stretch of late-season racing in 2017, which saw him earn podiums at ITU Triathlon World Cup races in Huelva, Spain, and Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida.
Kanute had a strong fall season in non-drafting races, placing second to Spain’s Javier Gomez at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in September and earning the overall win at the Island House Triathlon in November. He will look to improve upon his 16th-place performance at last year’s WTS Abu Dhabi stop.
Smoragiewicz is making his second career WTS start in Abu Dhabi; in his debut on the circuit last year in Edmonton, he placed 27th. Smoragiewicz was the top U.S. man at the 2017 ITU Under-23 World Championships last September, placing 13th.
The men’s international field is stacked, with 2017 world champion and 2016 WTS Abu Dhabi champion Mario Mola of Spain holding the No. 1 spot. Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway, the 2017 world bronze medalist, and Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, are also both set to compete.
Visit wts.triathlon.org for a complete men’s start list.
ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is the first of eight stops on the regular-season WTS circuit before September’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced its roster of 2017 Age-Group Triathletes of the Year, an award presented annually by Garmin and selected by USA Triathlon’s Age Group Committee.
Nick Noone (Boulder, Colo.) claimed top honors for overall Men’s Age-Group Triathlete of the Year, while Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.) earned the title of overall Women’s Age-Group Triathlete of the Year for the third consecutive year and fourth year in total (2013, 2015-2017).
Noone’s 2017 season began with an individual Olympic-distance victory at April’s USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a performance that helped the University of Colorado to its eighth straight team title. He went on to claim the overall win at IRONMAN Santa Rosa in May, his first foray into the full-IRONMAN distance. In June, Noone claimed the men’s 18-24 age group title and placed ninth overall at IRONMAN 70.3 Victoria.
“With a 2017 season full of highs and lows, this is a humbling award to receive,” Noone said. “Many thanks to USA Triathlon, my family, and my CU Boulder and EMJ teammates.”
303’s Bill Plock and Mile High Endurance’s Rich Soares recently interviewed USAT President, Barry Siff, to discuss the program more in depth. This discussion (podcast) can be heard on Mile High Endurance this Sunday, February 25th, and on 303Radio Friday March 2nd.
TRIATHLETE MAGAZINE MAKES $100,000 IN-KIND DONATION TO TIME TO TRI INITIATIVE
Multi-channel advertising donation will reach runners and cyclists to grow triathlon
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Triathlete Magazine announces a $100,000 donation of advertising space to the Time to Tri™ initiative, a new, industry-wide campaign to introduce 100,000 Americans to triathlon by the end of 2020. Pocket Outdoor Media, the publisher of Triathlete Magazine, will donate print, digital and social advertising space across all its leading endurance sports brands, including Triathlete, Women’s Running, Competitor.com and VeloNews, in an effort to bring runners and cyclists into the sport of triathlon.
Time to Tri is a new, industry-wide campaign launched by USA Triathlon and IRONMAN to grow American participation in the sport of triathlon. The campaign will recruit and support athletes as they pursue their first triathlon, one of the most transformative experiences in endurance sports. Time to Tri provides training and racing advice including a free training plan, motivational tools, and other resources through mytimetotri.com.
The site offers editorial content as well as free, customized sprint-distance training plans to athletes who sign up with their email address. Each plan’s workouts were developed by USA Triathlon Certified and IRONMAN U® Certified Coaches and are based on the athlete’s self-selected skill level in the swim, bike, and run. In addition to the digital platform at mytimetotri.com, USA Triathlon and IRONMAN will also engage in proactive outreach to identify new and aspiring triathletes including single-sport swimmers, cyclists and runners.
“Triathlete’s huge commitment is exactly what we had in mind when we introduced Time to Tri to key industry stakeholders,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “Our goal is to bring the sport together to grow triathlon, and nothing says that louder than the industry’s leading media brand stepping up to the plate with $100,000 in advertising.”
“As the world’s most read triathlon magazine, Triathlete is uniquely positioned to aid the Time to Tri effort,” said Pocket Outdoor Media CEO Felix Magowan. “Yet it’s the exposure to non-triathletes through Competitor.com, Women’s Running magazine and VeloNews that offers the biggest opportunity to grow the sport. We are delighted to partner with USA Triathlon and IRONMAN in this effort.”
“We are excited about growing participation in the sport of triathlon,” said Chris Stadler, Chief Marketing Officer for IRONMAN. “Our goal is to help potential first-time triathletes overcome their barriers through proper education, and this generous donation provides the perfect platform.”
Changes include a move from 10 to six Regions, increased communication with National Office
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced a restructuring of its Regions — reducing the number of Regions from 10 to six — to increase efficiency, collaboration and communication with the USA Triathlon National Office. The six Regions moving forward will be: Northeast, Mideast, Southeast, North Central, South Central and West.
Commissions, previously called Regional Councils, are responsible for aiding the development and growth of multisport within the designated states of each Region while acting as a liaison between the USA Triathlon National Office and USA Triathlon race directors, certified coaches, clubs and members.
The new structure will enable Regions to work more closely with USA Triathlon staff at the organization’s Colorado Springs headquarters, and will place a greater emphasis on regional programming that directly supports the 2018 USA Triathlon Strategic Plan.
Regional Representatives, formerly Regional Chairs, will no longer be elected officers. Instead, they will be appointed by USA Triathlon at the recommendation of senior volunteers within each Region.
“USA Triathlon’s Regional Representatives and volunteers are some of our greatest advocates — volunteer leaders advancing our mission at the grassroots level,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “This restructuring demonstrates our eagerness to work more closely with the regional network, share ideas and best practices, and make the entire multisport community stronger as a result.”
In addition, USA Triathlon is currently hiring three Regional Facilitators, each of which is a newly created, full-time staff position based in Colorado Springs. Each facilitator will serve as a liaison to two USA Triathlon Regions. Each one will also serve as a specialist in one of three key areas for multisport development: youth participation, women’s participation and short-course racing.
The number of USA Triathlon Regional Championship events will be reduced from 10 to six to align with the new regional structure, and six Regional Special Qualifiers will also be added to the calendar. At Regional Championships and Special Qualifiers, the top 33 percent or top-five competitors in each age group — whichever is greater — qualify for the USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships. The total number of qualifying athletes at those events will remain consistent with previous years. Regional Championship and Special Qualifier events will be added to each Region’s webpage at usatriathlon.org/regions as event dates are finalized.
Athletes may also continue to qualify for the Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships by finishing in the top 10 percent of their age group at any USA Triathlon Sanctioned age-group triathlon. Additional qualification criteria can be found by clicking here.
USA Triathlon is seeking volunteers to help execute and support regional programming. Potential volunteers should enter their contact information in this form, and USA Triathlon will connect each individual with their appropriate region based on state of residence.
Additional details about USA Triathlon Regions — including leadership updates, race calendars and program information — will be added to each Region’s webpage at usatriathlon.org/regions as they become available.
Forty-four ambassadors selected to help grow multisport participation in their local communities
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced its first-ever Ambassador Program, comprised of 44 multisport athletes who have represented Team USA in international age-group competition. USA Triathlon Ambassadors will provide resources, advice and inspiration to aspiring athletes in their local communities, using their collective stories and experiences to grow multisport participation nationwide.
Ambassadors are tasked with hosting at least three presentations in their communities over the course of the year, which may include school visits, skills clinics and Q&A sessions. These events are meant to introduce prospective and beginner triathletes of all ages to the sport, as well as provide helpful resources for training and racing. Each ambassador will also nominate a support team to help plan the presentations and build interest in the multisport lifestyle.
Of the 44 ambassadors who successfully applied through a comprehensive nationwide selection process, 30 are women and 14 are men. They hail from 20 different states, with California being the most-represented, and range in age from 17 to 87. Ambassadors were selected based on their background in multisport — with the prerequisite of having competed for USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA — as well as their commitment to the program and innovative ideas for recruiting new participants.
“We are excited to unveil the USA Triathlon Ambassador Program,” said Lauren Rios, USA Triathlon’s Team USA and Research Coordinator. “Our inaugural team of ambassadors is made up of incredibly passionate athletes who have amazing stories to tell. We are confident that this group will inspire the masses to give our sport a try, and support many new triathletes on their journeys to the start line.”
In addition to the presentations, USA Triathlon Ambassadors will also be available on a regular basis to answer training and racing questions via email or social media.
Some ambassadors will focus on specific disciplines of multisport, including triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon or aquabike, while others will focus on topics such as weight loss or mental training.
Industry-wide effort aims to attract 100,000 new participants to the sport by 2020
TEMPE, Ariz. — IRONMAN and USA Triathlon today announced Time to Tri™, an unprecedented industry-wide initiative to grow the sport of triathlon in the United States by supporting and inspiring beginners to complete their first race. With the end of 2020 as a goal of introducing 100,000 new participants to the sport, Time to Tri provides training and racing advice, motivational tools and other resources at its online hub, www.mytimetotri.com.
The initiative, a strategic joint effort founded by both parties, was unveiled this morning at the Triathlon Business International Conference in Tempe, Arizona, in a presentation led by IRONMAN CEO Andrew Messick and USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris.
“As an industry leader, we are proud to join forces with USA Triathlon to spearhead the development of Time to Tri,” said Andrew Messick, President and CEO for IRONMAN. “While a lot of effort has gone into this for the past few months, the truth is that we are really just beginning. The power, control and responsibility of this initiative lies with the entire industry and is truly something that should lead to the benefit of all, from athletes, to coaches, clubs, race directors and industry endemics. We all have a common interest in bringing new people into our sport.”
“Since coming onboard as USA Triathlon CEO, my focus has been to increase collaboration across the industry and work together on a shared goal of growing participation in triathlon,” Harris said. “Time to Tri is a critical step in that process, and we are proud to partner with IRONMAN in getting this effort off the ground. But, more importantly, this is an industry-wide initiative, and we will need the support of everyone across all of the sport’s constituency groups to be successful.”
By announcing the initiative at the TBI Conference, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon reached three key groups of industry stakeholders — coaches/clubs, race directors and retailers/brand manufacturers — with a call-to-action to sign a public pledge at mytimetotri.com and make this an initiative powered by the entire industry.
After signing the pledge, which asks stakeholders to spread the word about Time to Tri with their audiences via email and social media, signees will receive a “playbook” and a collection of branded digital assets to use in promoting the initiative. One of four playbooks will be distributed based on the signee’s affiliation as a race director, coach, club or brand, but each playbook includes sample messaging and strategic ideas for recruiting beginners to triathlon. In a public rollout on Monday, February 5, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon will also equip their respective members and athlete database with the tools to get involved.
The content at mytimetotri.com is inspired by qualitative and quantitative research that addresses key barriers to entry, such as swimming ability and open water swimming experience, triathlon knowledge, and the perception of a financial barrier.
The site will also offer editorial content as well as free, customized sprint-distance training plans to athletes who sign up with their email address. Each plan’s workouts are developed by USA Triathlon Certified and IRONMAN U® Certified Coaches and are based on the athlete’s self-selected skill level in the swim, bike and run.
In addition to launching the digital platform at mytimetotri.com, IRONMAN and USA Triathlon will engage in proactive outreach to identify new and aspiring triathletes. The running community is a primary target audience, and Time to Tri will have a presence at running race expos across the country in order to reach those athletes.
Time to Tri will also promote pool and indoor triathlons as a non-intimidating first triathlon experience — directly addressing the fear of open water swimming as a barrier to entry — as well as short-course (sprint- and Olympic-distance) racing, relays and beginner waves.
Building on the success of IRONMAN’s Women For Tri® initiative, Time to Tri will join forces with Women For Tri to increase the percentage of women triathletes (currently, that number is 39 percent) by driving the creation of women’s-only events and clinics while further supporting the Women For Tri online community.
Other outreach opportunities include partnering with the USA Triathlon Youth Splash & Dash Aquathlon Series, youth triathlon clubs and summer camps to recruit more young people to the sport; reaching new audiences on social media during the second annual National Triathlon Week this July; and enlisting the help of 44 of the nation’s top amateur triathletes through the USA Triathlon Ambassador Program.