Triathlon logo white

Adaptive Divisions

Regardless of abilities or classifications, every adaptive athlete can race in a USA Triathlon sanctioned event. Completing the World Triathlon Classification process is not neccessary. Domestic USA Triathlon events utilize the below structure for adaptive athletes.

Note: this structure is dictated by USA Triathlon's competitive rules. Athletes that require accomodations not listed in the competitive rules or adaptive divisions should contact and formally request those additional accomodations.

Adaptive Divisions

Athletes participating in an Adaptive Triathlon Division will often require unique equipment adaptations and accommodation needs for accessibility. As a result, rules and accommodations for these athletes are flexible in most areas. 

In most cases, equipment used in the Adaptive Triathlon Division should conform to the equipment standards referenced in the USA Triathlon and/or World Triathlon Competition Rules. However, Exceptions for equipment use accommodations and accessibility can be made.

Examples of Equipment Accomodations

The below are examples, not a complete list of equipment accommodations. Please note that recumbent bicycles are not allowed for any participant.

  • Athletes with any impairment that may affect balance may choose to use stabilizer wheels on the bicycle.

  • Recumbent style tricycles are allowed for use by ATD1 Ambulatory, ATD1 Wheelchair, ATD2, ATD3, and ATTMI categories.

  • Hand-cycles that do not meet the Paratriathlon measurement restrictions for length, wheel size, seat angle, or have no safety bars, are allowed.

  • Adaptive Triathlon athletes may use any of the allowed adaptive equipment in combinations that are not permitted in Paratriathlon.

Requests to use any equipment that allows for participation within the Adaptive Triathlon Divisions should be made to USA Triathlon at at least 14 days prior to the event.

Allowable Assistance

Under USA Triathlon’s Adaptive Rules, accessibility divisions and recommendations, there are four categories of allowable assistance.

Overview of Adaptive Rules, Divisions and Recommendations

  • An athlete with a prosthetic leg runs alongside a lake.

    Overview of Adaptive Rules, Divisions and Recommendations

    USA Triathlon has developed a free course available to all members that will introduce and discuss each adaptive division, equipment, accessibility to races and general recommendations.

    Take the Course , opens in a new tab

Race directors, want to include adaptive waves in your events? USA Triathlon's Race Director Resources include information on creating adaptive-friendly events. Categories and classifications, race operations, scalability and management, and marketing are all discussed.

Race Director Resources - Adaptive Events

Paratriathlon Race Director Certification