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photo: USA Triathlon/Carlos Cunha
CAF, USAT Team Up for First-ever Paratriathlon Camp
The three-day camp will open Thursday in sunny San Diego, Calif., where camp attendees will be tutored by elite coaches like Paul Huddle (Multisports.com), Sergio Borges (Sergio Borges X Training), Mark Sortino (Multisport Performance Institute) and Peter Harsch (2009 USA Paratriathlon Team Director and USA Triathlon Certified Level 1 Coach).
Also helping the camp attendees hone their skills will be elite CAF athlete mentors like 2010 USA Paratriathlon national champions Willie Stewart (Men's TRI 4) and Sandy Dukat (Women's TRI 2), and former two-time world champion Jon Beeson – co-chairman of the USA Paratriathlon Committee.
The goal of the CAF Paratriathlon Camp isn't to get in shape in three days – it's to gain the tools, knowledge and skills needed to properly begin and successfully execute a training program that will carry athletes throughout the triathlon season. "As coaches we are delighted to get the opportunity to coach and broaden the horizons of these paratriathletes" says Harsch, a nine-time Ironman finisher who is also a board-certified prosthetist. "By applying the techniques that have been developed by our top-flight instructors over the years for their successful clientele – including Ironman World Champions and top international competitors – our campers can excel and make triathlon a sport for life."
Participants will receive valuable classroom and technical instruction in a variety of areas, including: building and executing a training plan; pre-race, mid-race and postrace nutrition; paratriathlon rules and tips; choosing the proper prosthetic equipment; swimming techniques and form; bike set up, fit and technique; and proper running technique and form.
"By picking up all the costs, CAF and its partners are keeping the dream alive for so many paratriathletes who would not otherwise be able to attend," said Stewart. "Believe me, I've been to a lot of camps for a lot of sports, and oftentimes great athletes are left on the sidelines because they don't have the resources required to get there. Thanks to CAF, these athletes will have a unique, unprecedented opportunity to learn and progress with the help of some of the best multisport coaches in the world."
This camp is also an important element in part of a much larger movement to increase participation in the sport of triathlon and get it included in the Paralympic Games. "The sport of paratriathlon is on the verge of something special and both the USA Paratriathlon Committee and the Challenged Athletes Foundation have been at the forefront of that goal: The official inclusion of the sport in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," says Beeson. "Since 1996, CAF has been helping to create role models for the world and now this first-ever CAF Paratriathlon Camp will provide instructional and inspirational opportunities that will help disabled athletes get involved in the greatest sport on the planet."
For Melissa Stockwell, an Iraq War veteran and above knee amputee, the camp is a unique opportunity to improve in all three disciplines of the sport. "I am looking forward to the CAF Paratriathlon Camp as a chance to maximize my potential in the swim, the bike and the run. Specifically, I am looking forward to cycling evaluations and learning how I can make my bike setup work to my advantage with my prosthetic leg. Overall, I am excited for a few days of training with some other amputees who are as excited about the sport of triathlon as I am. To have the expertise of elite coaches, top paratriathletes and prosthetic experts all together in one place is invaluable to making us all better athletes. Thanks to CAF for the opportunity to improve on all aspects of the sport and helping us to that finish line faster."
The CAF Paratriathlon Camp is the official training camp of USA Paratriathlon. U.S. Paralympics is a partner of the CAF Paratriathlon Camp.