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Parents, Athletes Balance Competition, Fun at Youth and Junior Nationals
WEST CHESTER, Ohio — Hundreds of youth and junior triathletes converged Friday in West Chester, Ohio, for the USA Triathlon Youth and Junior National Championships, which take place over the weekend at Voice of America Park.
A record field of nearly 800 athletes includes athletes ages 7-19 at the beginner and youth/junior elite levels. While Saturday’s races feature the draft-legal youth and junior elite competitors, Sunday’s action puts the non-drafting, youth age-groupers in the spotlight.
Families traveled together from all over the United States to be part of a special race weekend in this Ohio town north of Cincinnati. Bernard Mainvielle from Los Angeles brought his 8 and 10-year-old sons Luc and Alex to nationals for the third straight year.
“While they hope to improve on last year’s [performances], most of all, they’re both looking to have fun. They enjoy the sport and that’s why we’re back.”
Having fun and learning were the themes Friday as USA Triathlon hosted a free youth clinic at the park, helping kids improve their swim, bike and run skills. Others picked up race packets and got their first glimpse of the course.
The opportunity to compete against top national competition remains a driving force behind the Youth and Junior Elite components of this event.
“The kids have been doing triathlons locally and while that’s a good experience, the opportunity to compete against kids all around the country is great and the level of competition is a lot higher,” said Paddy Oates, who drove to the event with his son Tom and a couple of local triathletes from Chelsea, Mich. “It’s great for their confidence to do an event like this as young as they are.”
The national championship weekend kicks off Saturday at 8 a.m. with the Junior Elite (ages 16-19) and Youth Elite (ages 13-15) National Championships. Racing will resume at 8 a.m. on Sunday with a draft-legal team relay for athletes ages 13-19, in which four competitors (two male, two female) will each complete a 250-meter swim, a 5-kilometer bike and a 1.2-kilometer run.
The age-group Youth National Championship is set to begin at 10:20 a.m. on Sunday, and will feature athletes ages 7-15, with national titles awarded to each age division. The competitive distances range from a 100m swim, 5k bike and a 1k run for ages 7-10 to a 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run sprint-distance event for the Junior Elites.
In case of inclement weather, parents are asked to call the event weather hotline at 513-785-5800. If necessary, information about delays will be recorded at this number and posted on the event website at www.usatriathlon.org/youthnationals.
For more information about the USA Triathlon Youth and Junior National Championships, visit the event website at www.usatriathlon.org/youthnationals.
USA Triathlon will provide race commentary and live results for the Junior Elite and Youth Elite events on a live blog beginning shortly before 8 a.m. ET. Click here for the live blog page to follow the action.