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FROM THE EDITOR
THIS ONE’S FOR YOU, BEGINNERS
We’ve all been there. Some of us mastered the sport in our first race while most of us took quite a few to get the hang of it. In this beginners’ guide-themed issue, we wanted to give you some tips to make our tough sport just a little easier. Starting on page 30 with our Hunter Kemper interview, we’ve put together articles, illustrations, workouts and elite tips to help you climb a few rungs on the multisport knowledge ladder.


For those of you who think you’re too advanced for a beginners’ issue, think again. Ironman legend Mark Allen’s pacing tips are just as important for beginners as they are for the All-American triathlete who can’t figure out why he’s getting passed so easily in the last mile of every race. Plus, we’ve thrown in some elite tips from USA Triathlon National Team athletes Sarah Haskins, Matt Chrabot and Jarrod Shoemaker and sample workouts from top coaches that will make your muscles ache so good.


Every athlete, beginner or seasoned veteran, can benefit from a little motivation. I’ll leave you with a quote from Kemper about overcoming obstacles, of which he’s had plenty the past couple years.


“When you go through those valleys and rough times, when you come through them and come out on the other side and get to realize your goal and finish the race, it’s so much more fulfilling and more rewarding … Realize that everyone has setbacks. We define ourselves not necessarily through what we accomplish but how we react and how we overcome adversity.”


Be sure to tell us about your first triathlon on our Facebook page at facebook.com/usatriathlon.


Jayme Ramson is the editor-in-chief of USA Triathlon Life and USAT’s online communication manager. Contact her at jayme.ramson@usatriathlon.org.


MAIL BAG
Something to say about USA Triathlon Life? Email letters to the editor to communications@usatriathlon.org with “mailbag” in the subject line. Be sure to include your name. Letters may be edited for length and grammar.


Dear Editor, I recently did something that I haven’t often done; I was a spectator at a local sprint triathlon. I witnessed something that in my opinion warrants the consideration of a rules change. The swim course and buoys were evidently set at or near high tide. But, the race stepped off hours later, at or near low tide. Consequently, the swim course was not only short, but it was very shallow, too. At an average depth of about waist-deep on most competitors, it was still at least deep enough to swim. Nevertheless, there were several competitors that walked/ran the entire length of the swim course and did not swim a single stroke. In fact, they came out of the water ahead of many competitors in their same start wave.


So, I looked up the ruling in the USAT rules, which state: “excluding the bottom, a participant shall not use any inanimate object to gain forward progress.” So, the non-swimming competitors in the race were within the regulations. But in the spirit of triathlon competition, competitors should be required to swim if the water is deep enough. If the swim course cannot be certified at a pre-determined average depth at the start of the race, then the race should be converted to a run-bike-run duathlon. —Dan Force, Portsmouth, R.I.


Hello Dan, The rule was carefully crafted to take into account the fact that many swims may be staged where there are areas of shallow water. It would be difficult to impossible to enforce a certain depth where running through the water would have to change to swimming. There are just too many variables. But, if water is too shallow throughout, USA Triathlon strongly encourages race organizers to change the event to a duathlon, since a proper swimming event is not possible. — Charlie Crawford, USA Triathlon commissioner of officials


Dear Editor, I’ve been racing in triathlons since I was 5 years old; I’m now 12. I’d like to know the reasoning behind the age up rule being applied to youth racing? My birthday is Dec. 30, so I race as an entire year older than I actually am. This hasn’t been a huge problem as I’ve competed at a high level and always placed well in my age categories. However, I feel it is unfair to young competitors to have them race anywhere from six months to one year older than they actually are. There is normally a big physical difference in males every six to 12 months. I also compete for a club swim team. In swimming you compete as your age on that given day of the meet and then you compete in two-year age categories. USAT breaks us out into age groups but then ages us up quicker in most cases. I think USAT should follow USA Swimming’s lead for competitors under the age of 18. —Clay Marshall


Hello Clay, During the first 20 years of our sport, adults raced as their actual age on race day. However, youth events, particularly IronKids, required participants to compete by birth year (age on Dec. 31) throughout the year. Participants competed against the same athletes throughout the year and qualified for the national championship to compete against the same group of kids without having to change age division in mid-season. Eventually, the Board of Directors of USA Triathlon decided that the rule for youth events was superior to the rule for adults and it should be applied to all participants. Beginning in 2007, adults—just like kids—began competing based upon their age on Dec. 31.


So, kids have always had the rule and adults recently adopted it. The main reason for the rule is to have competitors not change divisions in a calendar year. They qualify for the championship in the same division that they compete in at the championship. — Charlie Crawford, USA Triathlon commissioner of officials


12 USA TRIATHLON WINTER 2011

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