After a very successful weekend of racing for our athletes in the Schools County Cross Country champs I took the time to reflect where the junior club specifically has risen to in the last few years and I thought it a perfect time to share that with everyone.
First to the results the weekend and starting with our Academy athletes. The club now has 15 athletes that train with us full time across swim, bike, run and conditioning. Most of these athletes have not only been with us for a few years now but we also taught many of them to swim, bike and even run. Out of those 15 athletes 2 are too old to race for the schools, 1 was ill so not able to compete, one was getting PB’s at the County swimming champs and one was just coming back from an illness so not at their best. So out of 9 athletes that were fit and ready to compete 8 qualified for the national finals and one is on the reserve list, not bad from a group of athletes that train with a Triathlon Club full time and are mixing their running with the other 2 disciplines.
That wasn’t the only success we had as a club as athletes from our Development squad that also train with us under the guidance of Julie Whaley also had some great races and a number of those qualified of the Nationals or are on the reserve list. Not to be outdone some of our General Squad athletes also raced and put in some excellent performances. But that isn’t the whole picture, we had loads of athletes racing and maybe not winning or qualifying but having great fun racing but also taking part and representing the club, we are proud of all of you no matter what the result, so well done all
So after the great results the weekend it shows just how far the club has come in 8 years. We now have 4 squads across our junior club with around 100 athletes training with us every week.
Our general squad train with us once per week across 2 hubs, Bingham and Harvey Hadden. These athletes might be with other swim and run clubs but they come to us for the expert advice and coaching for triathlon but also the fun environment we create. We have some great coaches that support these athlete’s week in and week out and we currently have a waiting list of 35 athletes, testament to what a great job everyone does.
Our development Squad train with us 4 days per week across all 3 disciplines and don’t train with other clubs. Most of them we have taught to swim and progressing really well to be super athletes and pushing the Academy athletes. Some will want to move to the Academy others are happy being the best they can be with their friend’s week in and week out. The squad has its own dedicated coach, Julie Whaley who is guiding them brilliantly to be great athletes as well as great people
Our newest squad, Age group squad is aimed at teenagers who love the sport, want to be the best they can be but don’t necessarily want to compete in the Youth and Junior elite series. This might change as they get older but the important thing for us is that we keep them in the sport, keep the active and having fun with their friends, who knows they might be the next Olympic champion.
Our Academy has 15 athletes training full time with us, 6 days per week. They range in age from 12 to 20 but all have the same goal, to be the absolute best they can be and to race on the elite circuit for as long as they can. They have access to 5 swims per week, 3 runs per week and 2 bike sessions per week all under the guidance of 1 coach. They are able to train and grow with their friends on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, they can push each other across 3 disciplines and also learn new skills and drill together. The standard of the squad is getting better and better every month, this year we could easily have 10 or 11 of those athletes that reach the standard for the Regional Academies that British Triathlon run, that’s almost the whole squad and the others may be too old or too young to apply. This single club, single coach approach also allows us to minimize injury and ensure athletes aren’t over training or training when ill or injured. We can also balance the training across the week to ensure we have the right mix of technical development, aerobic training and harder sessions when required. We can also tailor the training specifically to triathlon, as the season approaches we can do swim sets off feet in the pool to prepare for open water sessions, we can bring brick sessions in easily and do drafting on the bike every week on the purpose built facility.
We also have great support from local physio and parent to athletes Mike Whitehead who helps to keep our athletes fit and healthy. We have a great Junior committee that helps make the running of the club easier and most of all we have committed coaches and athletes that love what they do.
The club will continue to grow and develop over the coming years and get stronger at what we do in the hope we can continue to allow all athletes the opportunity, no matter what level to be the best they can be.