Youth Guide

Table of Contents

1. Welcome!

2. Introduction to the Sport of Triathlon

3. Getting Started in Youth Triathlon

4. The Competitive Track: Next Steps for More Serious Youth Triathletes

5. The Multisport Lifestyle for Teens

6. A Rules Briefing: What Every Triathlete, Young or Old, Should Know

7. Parents of Youth Triathletes: What to Expect

8. Paratriathlon: Plenty of Opportunities

9. Testimonials from young triathletes and parents

10. Mid–Atlantic Events for Youth



Coaches and athletes at the 2014 USA Triathlon Mid-Atlantic Skills Camp(MMTC)

Coaches and athletes at the 2014 USA Triathlon Mid-Atlantic Skills Camp

If you are new to the multisport family or exploring options for your children, it is my pleasure to introduce the Guide to Youth Triathlon in the Mid–Atlantic Region, a resource for residents living in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C., and West Virginia.

Did you know that triathlon is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Olympic Movement? Also, multisport formats include: duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off–road triathlon, and paratriathlon. In this guide you will find useful information on these topics: how to get started and what to expect, options for competitive athletes, the multisport lifestyle for teenagers, an overview of rules, tips for parents, paratriathlon opportunities, and governance of the sport — an overview to the many facets of triathlon.

The Mid–Atlantic Region has a long tradition of supporting and encouraging youth participants. As of June 2014 youth membership in our region reached nearly 3,500, which is second highest regional membership in the country. Also, there are more than 30 certified youth coaches in this region and that number continues to increase as youth members grow.

Participating in multisports provides unique opportunities for kids to engage in physical exercise, interact with others, learn new skills, gain confidence, and have fun. This is why the Mid–Atlantic Region makes youth participation a priority and dedicates nearly one quarter of our annual budget to expand and increase the opportunities for youth — so they can get outdoors and be active!

Budding athletes in our region have access to a growing number of High Performance teams, as well as local youth triathlon clubs, camps, and clinics, allowing them to develop skills and gain experience in the multisport community.

Here are a few highlights of the work done by the USAT Mid–Atlantic Council:

  • Through grants and sponsorships we have supported programs like ACHIEVE DC Kids Triathlon, launched in 2007, which supports more than 50 urban youth through a training program during summer camp, culminating in their first triathlon, sanctioned by USAT.
  • The Mid–Atlantic Region hosts a USAT designated Skills Camps focused on youth and junior development.
  • The Mid–Atlantic Region leaders were active in the initiative to have triathlon recognized as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, fostering new opportunities for female student–athletes at DI, DII, and DIII colleges and universities.

In 2014, we awarded several grants to our membership:

  • Three paratriathlon grants (to defray race registration and travel expenses)
  • Three youth grants (to help with travel to national championship events)
  • Thirteen collegiate grants (helping with travel and championship awards)
  • Three grants for women — specific events (clinics, symposiums, off season training)
  • Eight club grants for regional championship awards.

In 2015, we launched a new website to keep you informed of the latest news on our region. We hope you will visit it regularly and also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Lastly, I want you know we have a dedicated group of volunteers who serve in the Mid–Atlantic Region and are thrilled to support the growth of youth participation in the “multisport lifestyle.” Take your time, review this guide and keep it nearby and be sure to bookmark our website. If you have any questions please contact us. We are here to welcome you and help support your child’s participation in multisports and make it a positive experience for all.

Cory Churches was Chair of the Regional Council of USA Triathlon. She has been involved in USA Triathlon regional leadership for seven years. She still remembers well her first triathlon and strives to ensure that all athletes experience the same thrill and excitement of a first race, even after dozens.

Introduction to the Sport of Triathlon

By Melissa Merson

Swim, bike, and run are child’s play. Given the chance, nearly every child will enjoy these three physical activities often on the same day or several times a day. So it comes as no surprise that when we combine all three into a fun multisport event, children fall in love with triathlon. It’s all so natural: the rush of cool water, the air blowing by us as we pedal away, and the sound of our footfall on the ground as we move across sidewalk, track, and trail. It is this connection with nature, fresh air, and movement that combine to define triathlon as the hallmark of a healthy, multisport lifestyle.

Unlike adult triathlons, which range in distance from short sprints to long or ultra–distance events that can last all day, youth triathlon is fast and fun and meant to leave every participant satisfied that he or she has accomplished something terrific and enjoyed doing it. Youth triathlon is meant to be safe and inclusive, at age and developmentally appropriate distances that are very short and gradually increase as the young athletes mature.

Youth interested in triathlon need very little equipment to participate. They need a swimsuit, swim goggles (optional), bicycle, approved helmet and running shoes.

With little in the way of specialized equipment required and the ability of most families to access places to swim, bike, and run, triathlon is a great way for children to learn healthy eating habits and general physical fitness, in varied and interesting ways. This well–rounded multisport approach is what makes triathlon more than just a sport.

In fact, youth and juniors are encouraged to participate in triathlon as one of many sports they participate in. Generally, specializing in triathlon alone should not take place until an athlete has gone through puberty. Specialization too soon often results in injuries and burnout, with many then exiting the sport.


In the United States, triathlon is governed by USA Triathlon, the National Governing Body (NGB), with oversight from the U.S. Olympic Committee. USA Triathlon, as do all Olympic sport federations, operates under the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act, the federal law designed to promote and protect safe and fair sport for all Olympic sports in the United States.

Triathlon is a recognized by the International Olympic Committee as an Olympic Sport and has been contested in the Olympic Games since 2000, when the first medals were awarded in men’s and women’s triathlon in Sydney, Australia. International triathlon events, such as the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the Youth Olympic Games, and the Paralympic Games are organized by the International Triathlon Union (ITU). ITU also organizes the annual elite and age group triathlon world championships, as well as world championships in duathlon, aquathlon, cross–triathlon, and winter triathlon. ITU currently is working to persuade the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add the exciting team relay super sprint triathlon format to the Olympic program. In 2016, paratriathlon medals will be awarded for the first time at the Rio Summer Olympic Games. For more information on what it means to be an Olympic sport, such as the values of fair play, sustainability, etc., check out

USA Triathlon provides insurance for triathlon participants by sanctioning race events, camps, and clinics and training coaches and race directors. The federation also provides race officials who enforce rules in a fair and equitable way.

In recent years, USA Triathlon has offered specialized training programs for youth and juniors coaches and race directors. Triathletes have the opportunity to participate in national youth and juniors triathlon championships each year.

USA Triathlon Regions

As the United States is a very large country, USA Triathlon has divided the nation into regions to promote and administer triathlon programs within their geographic area. The USA Triathlon Mid–Atlantic Region stretches from New Jersey and Pennsylvania through Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia to North Carolina. The region is run by a Council that selects regional championships, and conducts camps and clinics. Each region employs a Regional Athlete Development Coordinator (RADC) who works to identify high–talent athletes with potential for future elite athlete development programs that lead to opportunities to compete in elite and Olympic level competitions.

The USA Triathlon Mid–Atlantic website has excellent information about youth triathlon, including a list of youth triathlon events in the region. You also can find information on regional events that are part of the USAT Mid–Atlantic Youth Triathlon Race Series and the USA Triathlon National Splash and Dash Series, which is a series of non–competitive swim–run events nationwide designed to introduce youth to multi–sport activities. Also on the website is information regarding regional triathlon camps and clinics for youth and juniors.

Melissa Merson is a USAT Certified Triathlon Coach and Race Director, both with Youth & Juniors Specialization. She also is a USAT and ITU Certified Race Official. Melissa coaches the Arlington Triathlon Club and produces Arlington Youth Multisport Festival. She has served in various sports governance positions from the USAT Mid–Atlantic Regional Council to the USAT National Board, and the International Triathlon Union Executive Board.

Getting Started in Youth Triathlon

By Paul Bloom

Watch the joy radiate from a child as he or she crosses the finish line of a triathlon and one can understand why the popularity of youth triathlon has skyrocketed over the last few years. Kids are flocking to training programs and races because they are having a blast!

With proper instruction and some training, kids see that they can improve quickly at swimming, biking, running, and transitions, and this makes them feel great about themselves. By completing the relatively short distances of a youth triathlon, children can be challenged, but not become completely exhausted. They can typically do this after a few weeks of skills development and practice.

Why triathlon?

  • It is an individual sport where everybody gets to play and make the team.
  • The focus of most races and training programs is celebrating all the finishers.
  • Nobody has to ride the bench or feel like they let down their teammates because they had a bad day.
  • Kids are usually overjoyed to see that they swam, biked, or ran a little faster than they had in practice or in their last race.
  • Camaraderie is built by training together and by cheering each other on during workouts and races.
  • The emphasis is on doing your best and feeling positive at the finish.

The maximum distances recommended by USA Triathlon for youth triathlons for are shown in the table below.

Youth — USA Triathlon Distances (Maximum)

Race Age* Swim Bike Run
7–8 100 meters 3k 1k
9–10 100 meters 5k 1k
11–12 200 meters 7k 2k
13–52 375 meters 10k 2.5k

*USA Triathlon rules define race age as your age on December 31 in the year of competition with the exception of the USA Triathlon Splash and Dash Youth Aquathlon Series. 1K = .62 miles

These distances will test kids but should not intimidate them. At this age, the emphasis should be on acquiring skills in all three disciplines, as developing the muscles for one discipline helps build accessory muscles for the others.

Young kids and teens do not need to train to be “Iron–distance” athletes, nor should they put in the training mileage in swimming, biking, and running that they might pursue when they are older and focusing on only one sport.

How do you know if your child can do a triathlon? If he or she can swim across a pool without assistance, ride a bike without training wheels, and run around a track without stopping too often. If they can do these, the next step is to seek out a triathlon–training program and find a nearby race on the Resource section.

It’s important to remember, anyone starting out in this sport does not need to have racing bike, a triathlon speed suit, or the most expensive running shoes. A child–size bike (preferably with multiple gears), swim goggles, bathing suit, and some running shoes are all a child will need.

Look for coaches, programs, and races that are certified and sanctioned by USA Triathlon and you can be assured that they will be tuned in to how to make triathlon a wonderful experience for your child.

Paul N. Bloom, Ph.D., is a USA Triathlon Youth and Junior Certified Coach with Triangle Multisport in Durham, NC. He directs the Tri4Ever Kids Triathlon Clinic in Martha’s Vineyard, MA, and he co–directs the Thundercats Youth Triathlon Training Program in NC. He can be reached at

The Competitive Track: Next Steps for More Serious Youth Triathletes

By Christy Lausch

Amelya Jayne Photography LLCAmelya Jayne Photography LLC

If your child has been racing for a few years, they may start focusing on how to become a more competitive triathlete. As a parent you want to support their interest and the USAT Mid–Atlantic Region has many resources outlined below to help you navigate these waters.

Clubs and Teams

Training and racing is always more fun when it’s done with friends. The Mid–Atlantic region has more than 100 registered triathlon clubs so it should be easy to find a local club or team in your area that provides training and coach guided practices to develop your athlete’s skills. In addition to many youth development programs, our region has five High Performance Teams (below) that have met criteria established by USAT with a focus on preparing elite athletes to race in draft–legal triathlons as a part of the Olympic development pipeline.

Elite triathletes Race Age Race Distances
Youth Elite 13–15 375m swim,10k bike, 2.5k run
Junior Elite 16–19 750m swim,20k bike, 5k run

Maryland — MCTC Elite
Head Coach: Christy Lausch

North Carolina — All Out Multisport
Head Coach: Brooks Doughtie

North Carolina Triathlon & Cycling
Head Coach: Suzie Hosman

North Carolina — Trillium Multisport
Head Coach: Soni Dyer
Contract: Ed Gallagher

Virginia — Endorphin Fitness
Head Coach: Michael Harlow


For starters, it is recommended to seek out a USA Triathlon certified coach, preferably one with the additional USAT Youth and Junior Coaching Certification. A coach will be able to help provide guidance on age and distance–appropriate races in your area and within the region. A good coach will consider other activities that your child can participate in such as swimming, track, or cross–country and integrate them into a structured training plan that is focused on your athlete’s goals.


The USA Triathlon Talent ID Series provides young athletes with a gateway into the developmental pipeline. Athletes experience triathlon in its traditional, non–drafting format and officiated using USA Triathlon Rules. These races are typically sprint distance and have been selected because of their “junior–friendly” atmosphere and age–appropriateness. Talent ID races serve as an entry point for many young athletes into USAT’s talent identification pipeline. These races are focused on Junior triathletes.

Development Camps

USAT development camps are organized around two ability levels: Skills and Select Camps. They are staffed by USAT certified coaches who have completed the Youth and Junior Certification, and guest coaches with single sport expertise.

1. Skill Camps are held for novice to intermediate–level teens. The Mid–Atlantic Region hosts one of only six Skills Camps in the country. These typically take place on a college campus in Maryland during the summer months.

2. Select Camps are geared for more experienced, competitive junior elite athletes.


USAT employs a Talent Identification Coordinator in each region called a Regional Athlete Development Coordinator (RADC). The RADC’s role is help identify talented athletes, and to help connect parents and athletes with the resources available to develop their skills and provide then with the best opportunity to showcase their abilities and grow in the sport. Be sure to visit the USAT Mid–Atlantic Region’s Junior website ( to stay up–to–date on upcoming races, news on teams and camps, grant opportunities, plus other Junior–related activities in the Mid–Atlantic Region.

Christy Lausch is the USAT Mid–Atlantic Talent Identification Coordinator, and the founder and head coach of MCTC Elite and Mini Cow Tri Club. She is a USAT Level 1 and Youth/Junior certified coach and has been participating in triathlons for 16 years. She can be reached at clausch@usat–

The Multisport Lifestyle for Teens

By Zachary Britton

Youth triathlon provides a great foundation for pre–teens and teens to adopt the “multisport lifestyle.” Not only can it be a great social experience but it also encourages positive outdoor activities away from television and sitting in front of a computer for long hours. Perhaps most importantly, triathlon can help build a sense of fitness and instill lifelong healthy habits.

While it is an individual sport, triathlon is an ideal sport to help teens to connect with other teens through a variety of training programs, clubs and teams that are in the Mid–Atlantic Region. Many organizations, for example, offer six–week programs that culminate in a race. Other programs offer a competitive atmosphere and provide an opportunity master the fundamentals of swimming, cycling, running and triathlon racing.

The multisport lifestyle encourages teens to become fit and stay healthy. Triathlon exposes kids to multiple disciplines that require a combination of proper nutrition, endurance, strength, and flexibility. The sport of triathlon serves as a great platform for teens to learn how to take care of their bodies and helps kids develop healthy habits to use throughout their lives.

Zachary Britton lives in Washington, D.C. and is a member of the USAT Mid–Atlantic Region Youth Committee.

A Rules Briefing: What Every Triathlete, Young or Old, Should Know

By David Williams and Suzie Hosman

Multisport events are a fun way for the entire family to get active and fit, but like any competition, in order to create a safe and fair racing environment everyone must follow certain rules. USA Triathlon has established a comprehensive set of rules, including those that are youth–specific. It is important for both the athletes and their parents to become familiar with and understand these rules. We want to point out a few of the most common rule violations to ensure that athletes and their parents have a positive race day experience.

• No outside assistance — Parents cannot assist their kids during a race. That means even simple things like handing them a towel to dry off after the swim or taking a jacket from them if they are too hot during the run. Only race officials can provide assistance.

• Bike Helmet/Chin Strap — Not wearing a bike helmet or riding without buckling the helmet are very common violations. To play it safe, whenever an athlete is touching their bike they should have their helmet on and buckled.

• Transition Area — Parents are not allowed in the transition area once the race begins. There are usually volunteers available to help youth athletes in transition. An athlete must return their equipment to their designated spot on the rack and riding their bikes inside the transition area is not allowed (athletes must mount and dismount at the designated line). Participants are not allowed to interfere with their fellow competitors gear. Handlebars must have plugs in both ends.

• Course — All competitors must complete the prescribed course. It is a great idea to review the course with your youth triathlete the day before or morning of the event. It is the athlete’s responsibility to know the course.

• Bike Safety — During the bike portion of a race, athletes are expected to ride in a safe manner, which includes:
1. Ride on the right side of the lane
2. Ride no closer than two bike lengths behind the cyclist in front
3. Pass on the left of slower cyclists, not the right
4. Ride in a straight line without swerving, veering, or blocking the forward progress of other cyclists.

These are things you can practice at home with your child to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

• Unsportsmanlike Conduct — Foul, harsh, argumentative or abusive language or other unsportsmanlike conduct directed at race officials, USA Triathlon officials, volunteers, spectators or fellow athletes is forbidden.
A few other rules include:
1. Chrono or aero–type helmets are not allowed.
2. Training wheels are not allowed.
3. Disc wheels are not allowed.
4. Headphones are not allowed.
5. Flotation devices for the swim are not allowed.

While there’s no need to go through the entire rulebook in detail, parents and kids should be familiar with the basic rules to avoid any unnecessary penalties and confusion. For obvious reasons, parents should talk to their children about the importance of safety, fair play, and good sportsmanship. Knowing and following the rules can help make race–day much more fun for all participants involved.

David Williams is a USAT Level 2 coach is the owner of Triangle Multisport in Durham, NC. He is also the head coach of the Thundercats Youth Triathlon Team and the University of North Carolina Triathlon Team. He can be reached at

Suzie Hosman is a USAT Level 1 coach with Triangle Multisport and head coach of the North Carolina Triathlon Team, which is comprised of Junior and Under–23 athletes.

Parents of Youth Triathletes: What to Expect

By JoAnna Younts

As a race director and mother of two kids who have participated in a variety of sports over the years, I have witnessed a full spectrum of parental behavior at kids’ triathlons and other youth sporting events. Your behavior that can influence whether your child enjoys participation and develops a healthy attitude about sports.

Many parents are former high school or college athletes and/or participate in triathlons. These parents often struggle because they want to play a coaching role and encourage their kids to be as passionate about triathlon as they are. While most are well intentioned it is important to balance supporting children’s sports endeavors and while remembering to:
• Encourage our children without being overbearing
• Foster a love of sport while teaching the importance of sportsmanship
• Remind them to have fun while also doing their best

Here are four tips for parents to help maintain keep balance on and off the race course:

1. Do not spend a lot of money on equipment initially.
Although triathlon involves a little more equipment than some sports, it does not need to break the bank. Kids do not need the latest and greatest “bling.” A swimsuit works just as well as a triathlon suit. Any road, mountain or hybrid street bicycle will do the job as long as it fits them correctly and is safe. It is important to make sure they get a proper helmet, too. Given that kids’ attention spans can be short, it does not make sense to invest a lot of money in the beginning, and doing so can potentially shift the focus to the “stuff” rather than the fun of participating in the sport.

2. Keep training and preparation in balance with the rest of family life.
It is certainly important to encourage good preparation and training but not at the expense of school, family obligations, or unstructured playtime. Many kids already do the three disciplines of triathlon regularly anyway, even if just riding their bikes around the neighborhood or running across the playground in a game of tag. Swim teams and youth running clubs also provide more structured opportunities for training. It’s important to decide where triathlon falls on the priority list for the parents, the family as a whole, and the child.

3. Give your child space so they can discover how a triathlon works.
Sure, go ahead and help them make a list of what they need for a race, drive them there, help them get their equipment set up but then it is equally important to get out of the way and let them have their own experience.

Most youth races have volunteers who assist kids in the transition area and also help out along the course. Let them learn where each segment takes place, how to get in and out of transition, and where to go on the course. Kids are best served by parents who let the volunteers do their jobs and instead devote their energy to giving positive encouragement.

4. Most importantly: stress the importance of having fun, enjoying the sport, and good sportsmanship.
Cheer on and give high–fives to all the kids who come by during the race, not just your own. Encourage your kids to stay on and support all the competitors who finish after them. Races provide an opportunity to be role models for our kids through our own behavior on race day and every day. Remind your kids to congratulate other competitors and thank the volunteers while you do the same. Graciousness and humility will go a long way no matter whether they stick with triathlon or move on to other endeavors.

JoAnna Younts is a USAT–certified coach and the founder of Kids Tri NC, a 501(c)(3) not–for–profit organization that produces multisport races and clinics for youth. She directs the Tar Heel Youth Triathlon series in North Carolina. She can be reached at

Paratriathlon: Plenty of Opportunities

By Amy Olin

If you are a parent or a youth between 7 and 15 years old, and are interested in paratriathlon and live in the Mid–Atlantic region — good news! This region has plenty of upcoming and established programs to support paratriathletes young and older. Better news is you do not have to navigate the experience alone. We are proud to have ambassadors who serve in all states of this region to expand outreach and help you access all the resources necessary to participate in this exciting sport.

Mid–Atlantic region supports the youth paratriathlon community with:

Funding and hosting of camps and clinics designed for paratriathletes of all abilities and levels, and handlers and guides

Resources for local adaptive sports programs

Funding for travel, race expenses, and adaptive equipment

Recruiting volunteers and handlers as needed for races

Assisting in previewing race courses for accessibility

Connecting paratriathletes, volunteers, and supporters on social media

In 2013, the first–ever paratriathlon friendly youth event was hosted at TriAtholton in Columbia, Md., and continues to offer a positive race experience for young paratriathletes. Our region has several adaptive sports programs that provide additional support in training, equipment, and opportunities for youth such as The Bennett Institute for Physically Challenged Sports in Baltimore, Md., and Sportable in Richmond, Va.

For more information, to join our yahoo group, or to contact our regional representatives on youth paratriathlon efforts, please visit the USAT Mid–Atlantic Paratriathlon website.

Amy Olin served as chair and central communications manager of the USAT–MA paratriathlon committee in 2014-15. Amy is also a triathlete and previous triathlon event manager on the local level. 

Paratriathlon Five Sport Classes
Courtesy of USA Triathlon

PT1 — Wheelchair users. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to: muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis that prevent the ability to safely ride a conventional bike and run. Through classification assessment, athletes must have a score of up to 640,0 points. Athletes must use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment;

PT2 — Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement that through classification assessment have a score of up to 454,9 points. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.

PT3 — Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement that through classification assessment have a score from 455,0 to 494,9 points. In both bike and run segments, the athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.

PT4 — Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement that through classification assessment have a score from 495,0 to 557,0 points included. In both bike and run segments, the athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.

PT5 — Total or Partial visual Impairment (IBSA/IPC defined sub–classes B1, B2, and B3): Includes athletes who are totally blind, from no light perception in either eye, to some light perception but unable to recognize the shape of a hand at any distance or in any direction (B1) and partially sighted athletes with a visual acuity of less than 6/60 vision or visual field less than 20 degrees with best corrective vision (B2–B3). One guide is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment.

Testimonials from young triathletes and parents

All it takes is one race and kids and their parents are eager to share how much they like the sport — they really do! Below you will find some testimonials from kids and parents about their triathlon experience. If you are age 5–15 and did your first triathlon this year, we would like to hear from you! Email us at so we can share your experience with others. We would like to hear from at least one boy and girl from our region of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia.

Connor Barritt (NC)
Tyler Barritt (NC)
Taylor Bean (VA)
Abby Chadwick (NJ)
Breigh Chadwick (parent) (NJ)
Michael Gossow (PA)
Daniel Gossow (PA)
Richard Gossow (coach/parent) (PA)
Aaron McCray (VA) George Mason University
Emily Turner (VA)

Connor Barritt, age 9, Chapel Hill, NC
Team: Thundercats
First triathlon: Hillsborough NC Tarheel Youth Triathlon
What was fun about your first triathlon?
It was awesome. During the race, it started pouring rain, but I finished the bike anyway!
Do your friends race, too?
My brother Tyler also races and my mom did a triathlon this past fall also.
Are you doing any races this summer?
Yes, I am doing the Tarheel Youth Triathlon series this summer here in North Carolina. My favorite part of the triathlon is getting out there and racing other people.

Tyler Barritt, age 7, Chapel Hill, NC
Team: Thundercats
First triathlon: Hillsborough NC Tarheel Youth Triathlon
What was fun about doing your first triathlon?
I got to swim, ride my bike, and run all in one competition. My favorite part was the bike. I was able to catch a few people on the bike and then I just ran as hard as I could to finish. My mom’s favorite moment was afterward when I told her, “I feel so alive!”
Do your friends race, too?
My brother, Connor also races and last summer my cousin Barritt who is 9–years–old did the Tarheel Youth Triathlon in Cary with me.
Are you doing any races this summer and what are you looking forward to?
Yes, I am doing the Tarheel Youth Triathlon series in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, and Cary (NC) this summer. My goal is to improve my transitions.

Taylor Bean, age 19, Norfolk, VA
First triathlon: 2013 Breezy Point Triathlon
What was the first triathlon you competed in?
I was 17 when I first competed in the Breezy Point Triathlon. It was the Sunday after I graduated from high school. It was a blast! I did not really train for it, however, I swam on my high school team that winter and had just finished up soccer season a couple weeks prior to the race so I was in decent shape.
What do you like about competing in triathlons in comparison to other sports you have done?
I like competing in triathlons because, unlike soccer, the end result is totally up to me. I love team sports, but I also love the fact that in a triathlon I control the outcome – I’m not held back by anyone else. I think it is awesome to have the three different events too. Sometimes I get bored just doing one activity for a while so changing it up twice during the event is really cool. Also, it allows for people of different athletic backgrounds to be equally competitive.
Do you see it as a lifelong sport?
I definitely see it as a lifelong sport. Having played sports since I was 4 years old, I cannot imagine being inactive when I get older. Playing soccer throughout my adulthood is not very realistic. By continuing to participate in triathlons, however, I am able to stay in shape, compete athletically, and make a lot of solid friendships. I am excited that I have found a passion that I can continue for many years to come.
Do you have any advice for a young person who is interested in doing their first race?
Get out and do it and what makes it easier and more fun is if you do it with someone you know. Find a friend or family member to join you since it also might help ease any nerves. My mom and I do a lot of races together and not only does that make races more fun, it has also strengthened our relationship. I think the most important thing to remember when doing your first triathlon is just to have fun! No matter how slow or how fast you go, it will be your best time!

Abby Chadwick, age 9, Mullica Hill, NJ
First Triathlon: 2014 KidzTri3 Triathlon in New Jersey
What was fun about your first triathlon?
My favorite part was crossing the finish line. I also did a Splash–n–Dash race while my Mom and Dad did the triathlon and duathlon at the AC Triathlon.
Of the three sports, which do you like the best?
I like going on bike rides with my friends who also have road bikes. The bike part is my favorite because it’s faster and the hardest part is running.

Breigh Chadwick (parent), Mullica Hill, NJ
First triathlon: 2013
How did you get involved in the sport of triathlon?
I had joined the Mullica Hill Woman’s Tri Club in 2012 swearing I would never do a Tri. I only joined to do the runs and be part of the club so my daughter would do their Girls on the GLOW running program. Now I’m addicted to the sport!
Did you encourage your daughter to race or did she want to because of you as a role model?
I’m sure I encouraged her to race. But, she definitely sees me as a role model and wants to do whatever I’m doing usually as well. She wanted a road bike for her birthday so she could go on rides with her dad and I. And the Triathlon camp was the following week. She was beyond excited to use her new “racing” bike for camp and then for the race.
Are you excited about the prospect of this triathlon being an NCAA Emerging Sport and thus, your daughter and her girlfriends might be able to race in college?
I am beyond excited to see that the NCAA has brought on Triathlon as a college sport. My husband and I were both Division I athletes and really hope that our kids love some sport, any sport, enough to want to play in college. And Triathlon is a great lifetime sport. I’m a little too old and beat up to play my old sport (played volleyball). But, I’ve had a great time learning a new sport. I’ve also had a lot of success. But, considering I’ve never raced triathlon before its not hard to PR every time 🙂
And considering its such a new college sport and because my husband and I are involved in the sport I believe if my daughter really wants to continue with triathlon that she would have a good shot at participating at the college level.

Michael Gossow, age 13, Wayne, PA
When did you discover the sport of triathlon?
I started triathlons at age 7, when my parents offered an opportunity to me. I got hooked and have enjoyed the sport ever since. The practice sessions can be hard, especially when I go riding with my mum and dad.

Daniel Gossow, age 12, Wayne, PA
When did you discover the sport of triathlon?
I started triathlons when I was 6 after seeing my brother race. Both my parents race and are also my coaches. I belong to a youth triathlon team that my parents started and love training and racing with my friends.

Richard Gossow (coach/parent), Wayne, PA
Founder and coach of Superkids Multisports Team
Can you share some thoughts as a parent of young triathletes?
Youth triathlon is still new and can benefit from more organized teams or clubs to promote the sport.
Can you share some thoughts as a coach?
Foremost on all the kids’ agenda, should be school and homework. Next, there should be fun time to unwind and lastly, if there are still hours remaining, then train for a sport. It is hard to structure the coaching around the different levels of athletes, especially the biking part. We have athletes that ride comfortably at 20 mph, while others ride and look at the scenery around them. I encourage all my parents to participate in all practice sessions, so that I have sufficient supervision at all times, specifically during rides.
Finally, all my athletes love the practice sessions and draw strength from each other. It is amazing to see a group of kids with differing abilities just gel together.

Aaron McCray, President of the George Mason Triathlon Club
Started in triathlon at age 18
Many youth and teens enter the sport of triathlon at different times. What sports did you do growing up?
I played team sports like baseball and basketball and when I was in middle school I ran track and cross country. I continued to run throughout high school and one year in college. After an injury, however, I left the team and looked toward triathlons. It was something that interested me, plus I wanted to tackle a new challenge.
Did you find that participating in track and cross country helped build a foundation for triathlons?
I would describe myself as above average running shape, so that was a great advantage. My cardio was great after competitively running for seven years. I never biked or swam competitively, but I did use stationary bikes as cross training or warm–ups for my running.

Emily Turner, 15, from Midlothian, VA
First triathlon: 2010 PowerKids Triathlon
Club: Endorphin Fitness
What do you remember about your first triathlon?
In 2010 when I was 9 years old I DNF (did not finish) my first race. One the run I was supposed to do two laps but I only did one lap. I was already done and eating Oreos with my friend when someone said we had another lap to do so we ran back out and did it. I think I had that Oreo in my hand the whole time.
Do you have any advice for a young person who is interested in the sport?
The most important think I would say to kids who were interested in doing triathlons is to have fun.

Mid–Atlantic Events for Youth

This calendar is a sampling of 2016 events in USAT Mid–Atlantic Region (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, Virginia, and West Virginia) with a youth–specific category. Most triathlons automatically include age groups for children. For more information, we highly recommend readers confirm and verify this information on the event website and also check the resources and USA Triathlon calendar for USAT sanctioned events. If you are an event director and want your youth triathlon listed please contact us at


Saturday, June 18, 2016
Tri–It™ Festival & Duathlon (Bear, DE)


Saturday, April 16, 2016
Hagerstown Youth Duathlon #1 (Hagerstown, MD)

Sunday, May 1, 2016
Nanticoke River Swim & Triathlon (Bivalve, MD)

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Strive 2 Tri Youth Splash & Dash (College Park, MD)

Sunday, June 19, 2016
Truxtun Youth Triathlon (Annapolis, MD)

Sunday, June 26, 2016
Columbia Splash & Dash (Columbia, MD)

Saturday, July 4, 2016
Firecracker Kids’ Tri (Cambridge, MD)

Saturday, July 16, 2016
Hagerstown Youth Triathlon (Hagerstown, MD)

Saturday, July 16, 2016
Maryland Youth Duathlon (Woodbine, MD)

Sunday, July 24, 2016
Columbia Association Kids Triathlon (Columbia, MD)

Saturday, August 27, 2016
Nottingham Kids Triathlon (Mount Airy, MD)

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Hagerstown Youth Duathlon #2 (Hagerstown, MD)


Saturday, April 30, 2016
Hamilton Splash & Dash (Hamilton, NJ)

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Jersey Genesis Triathlon/Bambino Biathlon  (Port Republic, NJ)

Saturday, June 11, 2016
Escape The Cape: Kids’ Race (Cape May, NJ)

Sunday, June 12, 2016
Kids Triathlon for Bob Kelleher (Rumson, NJ)

Saturday, June 25, 2016
Islandkids Triathlon (Avalon, NJ)

Saturday, June 25, 2016
TOUGHKids Cheesequake Triathlon (Middlesex County, NJ)

Sunday, July 24, 2016
Avalon Beach Classic Duathlon (Avalon, NJ)

Saturday, August 20, 2016
KitzTri3 South Jersey Splash & Dash (Sewell, NJ)

Sunday, August 21, 2016
KidzTri3 South Jersey Youth Triathlon (Sewell, NJ)

Saturday, August 27, 2016
Tri the Wildwoods: Kids’ Splash & Dash (North Wildwood, NJ)

Saturday, September 3, 2016
Splash n’ Dash (Avalon, NJ)

Sunday, October 2, 2016
Treasure Island Kids Triathlon (Point Pleasant, NJ)


Sunday, April 17, 2016
Kids Splash n Dash at HFFA (Huntersville, NC)

Saturday, April 30, 2016
HFFA Kids Triathlon Series – Race #1 (Huntersville, NC)

Sunday, May 15, 2016
Tar Heel Youth Triathlon #1 (Chapel Hill, NC)

Sunday, May 15, 2016
Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon (women/girls only) (Raleigh, NC)

Sunday, May 22, 2016
HFFA Kids Triathlon Series – Race #2 (Huntersville, NC)

Saturday, June 4, 2016
Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon (Charlotte, NC)

Sunday, June 5, 2016
Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon (women/girls only) (South Charlotte, NC)

Sunday, June 19, 2016
HFFA Kids Triathlon Series – Race #3 (Huntersville, NC)

Sunday, July 17, 2016
Ashville Kid’s Splash n’ Dash (Ashville NC)

Sunday, July 24, 2016
HFFA Kids Triathlon Series – Race #4 (Huntersville, NC)

Sunday, August 14, 2016
LPC Kid’s Splash n’ Dash (Fletcher, NC)

Sunday, August 21, 2016
Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon (women/girls only) (Winston–Salem, NC)

Sunday, August 28, 2016
Tar Heel Youth Triathlon #2 (Briar Chapel, NC)

Sunday, September 18, 2016
Tri the Creek Kids Triathlon (Charlotte, NC)

Sunday, September 18, 2016
Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon (women/girls only) (Charlotte -Huntersville, NC)

Sunday, September 25, 2016
Tar Heel Youth Triathlon #3 (Cary, NC)

Sunday, October 2, 2016
Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon (women/girls only) (Chapel Hill, NC)


Saturday, May 21, 2016
TOUGHKids Philladelphia (Elverson, PA)

Sunday, June 12, 2016
School’s Out! Kids’ Triathlon (Horsham, PA)

Saturday, July 16, 2016
Fairmount Park Family Triathlon (Philadelphia, PA)

Sunday, July 31, 2016
KidzTri3 Lake Nockamixon (Quakertown, PA)

Saturday, August 6, 2016
Hunting Park Family Triathlon (Philadelphia, PA)

Friday, August 12, 2016
Lewisburg Triathlon for Kids (Lewisburg, PA)

Sunday, August 28, 2016
West Shore YMCA Splash and Dash (Camp Hill, PA)


Sunday, May 1, 2016
East Coast Triathlon Festival (Glen Allen, VA)

Sunday, May 1, 2016
Westfields Kids Spash & Dash (Chantilly, VA)

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Powerkids Triathlon (Richmond, VA)

Sunday, May 22, 2016
Super Hero Splash and Dash (Norfolk, VA)
No website yet

Sunday, June 5, 2016
The Arlington Triathlon (Arlington, VA)

Saturday, June 11, 2016
Endorphin Fitness Splash & Dash (Richmond, VA)

Saturday, June 19, 2016
Kids Tri Too and Kids Can Du (Manassas, VA)

Sunday, July 31, 2016
Kids Tri Too #2 and Kids Can Du #2 (Manassas, VA)

Saturday, Aug 20, 2016
VHBG Youth Triathlon (Richmond, VA)


Sunday, August 7, 2016
Thurmond Triathlon (Thurmond, WV)

Additional resources
USA Triathlon Events


USA Triathlon–Mid–Atlantic Region Governing Body
Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C., and West Virginia

Mid–Atlantic Collegiate Conference (MACTC)

The MACTC is an association of the colleges and universities within the USAT Mid–Atlantic Region and serves as the governing body for the sport of collegiate triathlon for all schools within these states. Mission is to develop the sport of triathlon within the collegiate ranks through encouraging extramural and intramural competition as a step towards both elite athlete development and life–long health.

Mid–Atlantic Paratriathlon Program

Serves as a resource for local triathlon clubs; race directors; and youth, adult, and disabled veteran athletes who have a physical or sensory disability such as an amputation, spinal cord injury, stroke, spina bifida, cerebral palsy or blindness.

USA Triathlon
National Governing Body

USA Triathlon KidZone


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