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Triathlon champions in the making

Edge Hill State School Tri Academy students recently had a taste of what it was like to be an IRONMAN, participating in the recent McDonald’s IRONKIDS Triathlon on June 11 in Cairns.

The Australian Sports Commission’s Sporting Schools program, Triathlon Queensland and Edge Hill State School joined forces in a move to introduce kids to the sport of triathlon whilst encouraging them to get more active.

Physical Education teacher Dean Ashton, and Will Swim and Tri Coaching Director Bill Evans teamed up to deliver the training program for 27 girls and boys from Year 3 to 6. Preparation prior to the race included training three times a week, before school and during break times focusing on tri-specific skills for the three disciplines of swim, bike and run.

“The introduction of the Edge Hill State School Tri Academy program has been a huge success over the past 2 terms. The 27 students have had the opportunity to learn brand new skills from qualified coaches, but also life skills that the sport of Triathlon brings; such as discipline, commitment, dedication and drive to be the best you can be,” Dean Ashton, Physical Education Specialist at Edge Hill State School said.

“I have not only seen the students improve their fitness, but also, seen them mature as both individuals and as athletes. From the success and exposure the Edge Hill Tri Academy has received so far, it is hoped that more Edge Hill State School students will be encouraged to participate in the sport of Triathlon!” he said.

The McDonald's IRONKIDS event, a kids only version of the Cairns IRONMAN, formed part of the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival last month. The course consisted of a 50 metre swim through the Esplanade Lagoon, 1km cycle along the Esplanade and a 500 metre run along the boardwalk for 7-10 year olds and 100 metre swim/3km cycle/1km run for 11-13 year olds. This extremely popular event provided the opportunity for juniors to experience the race atmosphere and course of the 70.3/IRONMAN that many of their parents, family friends and favourite professional triathletes raced the following day.

“It’s events like these that provides an excellent opportunity for kids to gain confidence and practice their transitions and game familiarity with the swim, ride and run course. It is about getting them into the Ironman swing and who knows, we might end up producing the next world champion from out of Cairns,” Bill Evans, Director of Will Swim and Tri Coaching said.

“The program, one of the first of its kind in regional Queensland, will deliver some long-term benefits to the athletes. The more kids we have the more coaches we will need but we would like to grow the program” he said.

Sporting Schools is a $100 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run a Triathlon program at your school? Check out all the details on the Triathlon Australia page.