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Eastern Mennonite University Hosts USA Triathlon's First High School Clinic

By Bob Hepler, 07/05/19, 12:52PM MDT

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Eastern Mennonite University hosted 16 young triathletes at the first triathlon clinic geared to promote NCAA Women's Triathlon to 12-18 year-old women. The weather was perfect in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and a large group of teenagers was unexpectedly good humored and cooperative as the day started with a workshop on bike handling and safety led by local Harrisonburg cycling legend Sue Lottridge.

The cycling group was split into two groups as the beginner group did appropriate drills and a light workout, while the more advanced group also did drills and a very tough workout taking advantage of Harrisonburg's mountainous surroundings. 

After a snack and an introduction to the world of women's varsity triathlon, the group moved onto the track. EMU Associate Head Track & Field Coach Erick Camodeca, assisted by five-time NCAA National Qualifier Grant Amoateng, took the group through a series of running drills focusing on body positioning, foot strike and cadence. The 1,600 meter time trial featured strong performances as well as some reappearance of snack time. 

The young athletes then formed a bike gang for the 1.5 mile ride to the City of Harrisonburg Pool where we were greeted by Kristin Lam and her wonderful staff. EMU Literature and Writing Professor (and EMU Assistant Triathlon Coach) Chad Gusler led the athletes through swim drills and warm-up before the 100 meter time trial. Gusler also attempted some Shakespeare references — they were not well received.  

The clinic concluded with outstanding swim to bike and bike to run workshops led by area triathlon coach and athlete Emily Sherrill. After the adventurous ride back to EMU, the athletes were presented with wonderful parting gifts supplied by USA Triathlon.

Thank you to multisport legend Connie Peterson and the Harrisonburg multisport community for their overwhelming support. Most of all, I truly appreciated the great attitudes and work ethic of the young women in attendance. Seriously, not a bad attitude in the house! 

The day went so well that we are considering doing another clinic for 12-18 year-old women on Aug. 12!

Want to host a clinic?

With 30 schools, USA Triathlon’s NCAA program is thriving as institutions are finding triathlon is a great addition to their varsity sport’s menus. In an effort to support recruitment needs, USA Triathlon has established junior high/high school clinics. The focus of these clinics is to expose young women to the sport and help NCAA institutions with recruitment.

The clinics include short time trials in swimming (100 meters in a pool) and running (1,600 meters on a track) and take place either on a college campus, a community center with a track or a high school where access to a facility can be granted. USA Triathlon seeks those interested in supporting the clinic program in three areas:

  1. Leading one of the clinics, which includes securing a location and date (modest stipend to be paid)
  2. Volunteering for a clinic to help track athletes during their time trials
  3. Identifying junior high and high school female athletes who might want to partake in a clinic if one is in their respective location. We will support a stipend payment to any school that recruits ten or more athletes to attend the clinic.

If any of these three apply, contact Tim.yount@usatriathlon.org for more information.