June Woman of the Month-Amy Verlander

 Amy Verlander


Age: 29Hometown: Orlando, FloridaTriathlon Club: Winter Garden Wheel Works

USAT Florida Region is so happy to announce our June Woman of the month, Amy Verlander. Amy is a Neonatal ICU nurse and lives in Orlando with her husband. She balances a full time job with training and being an awesome wife! She also has a very inspirational blog: www.sweatyandsweet.com. Please check out her bio below!

“In life, it is not the destination that matters, but rather the journey.”

A doctor I previously worked for once paraphrased this ancient wisdom to me. Although such a simple statement, I have come to find that there is great truth to it, both in life and triathlon. My journey in triathlon started way back in the early 90’s when I was nine years old and completed my first triathlon, the Meek and Mighty super sprint distance race held in conjunction with the annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL.Amy V
Regardless of the fact that my next triathlon was about ten years later, that first race had obviously planted a seed; a seed about lifelong fitness and healthy living. I stayed active throughout all of my school years. I was involved in soccer, softball, swim team, cross country and track and field, even at the collegiate level, running for the University of South Florida. Every summer during college, I borrowed my mom’s bike and casually competed in what is one of my favorite home town races, Top Gun Triathlon. My fitness level allowed me to easily jump in with not much additional training. However, the tri bug really bit me hard after college. A new road bike as my graduation present was the fuel that sparked the fire. And as they say, the rest is history!
With increased independence after college running, I started researching and following new exercise plans and took on a more intense level of triathlon training. Then after countless sprint and Olympic distance races, I started looking for an additional challenge. Enter Ironman 70.3. For my first attempt, I just wanted to finish. But after that, it was about how much faster I could go. The third time was a charm, when I shattered my own record on the Florida course by almost 40 minutes!
But why do I push myself to do this?

What is it that inspires and motivates me? For me, it’s not the ‘what’ but the ‘who’ . . . my dad.

AmyV1Growing up, I watched my dad compete in numerous road races and triathlons which helped shape me into the active woman I am today. I cannot even count the number of swims, bikes, runs and races we have done together throughout the years. Additionally, watching him train for and successfully complete his first Ironman, Ironman Florida to be exact, was remarkable. Plagued by hip pain towards the end of his training, he was forced to walk some of his last long training runs. However, his determination allowed him to finish the race strong and I hoped eventually one day I would be able to do the same. I’ll finally be able to achieve that dream in just a few weeks. On August 24th, my dad, husband and I will all toe the start line at Ironman Louisville.

Another source of motivation comes from my inner competitiveness. While training is a lot of fun, it’s the races that really push me to my limit. I’m always looking for that new exciting race to try and chasing after new PR’s! I love the focus I get when trying to meet a certain goal and the feeling at the finish line after knowing I’ve given it my all is incredible!

Finally, wanting to share with others my own journey about what I’m so passionate about, I started a blog to document my training and racing. I am also active on the social media apps Instagram and Facebook. Motivating and encouraging new and veteran athletes alike, to either begin or continue their fitness journey, then keeping up with their goals and progress circles right back around and keeps inspiring me. That’s the thing I really love about the triathlon community.

“No matter your background, if you’re a newbie, competitive age grouper, or weekend warrior, we all come together and support each other and have a blast doing what we love!”



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Challenge Roth……a carnival of joy….

The phrase “bucket list” has been used so often it now even refers to mediocre events. However, there is nothing mediocre about the full iron distance triathlon in southern Germany called “Challenge Roth.”  It takes place in the Bavarian town of Roth in the beginning of July each year and has for the past thirty.  This is not only a bucket list race, but it is at least once-in-a-lifetime must do triathlon for any triathlete who wants the ultimate experience, precisely the Ritz Carlton experience. I had the good fortune of doing it this past year.
Most triathlons sorely lack the great Expos that, for example, the big marathons have. Not here. The Roth Expo is very big and it encompasses everything the sport has to offer and then some. It takes place in a big park and it includes beer gardens, restaurants and, of course, the finisher stadium. Anything that has to do with swimming, cycling and running can be found here. It is like a one week county fair. In fact, the evening of the pasta party and after the people have finished eating everyone walks to the town square where there is a big celebration. The town’s people put on a stage show along with speeches and there is plenty of merriment going around. The whole town of Roth celebrates the athletes.
The swim takes place in a canal with thousands of spectators lining the the waterway on both sides including on the bridges. As you are setting up your transition prior to the race start they play snippets of the national anthems of the 60 plus countries represented there. You truly get an Olympic feel. There is live television and two announcers keeping the crowds entertained, informed and pumped up. The water temperature is in the 70’s and it is wetsuit legal. The age groupers even get to hear the play-by-play of the pro triathletes swim the single loop.
The two loop bike course takes you through the beautiful Bavarian countryside. Roads are even shut down, so only the contestants can use them. There are not only aid stations for your nutritional needs, but there are three bike stations that will help you with any mechanical issues you might have during the race. Beware of some very long and steep climbs.  However, two of these climbs makes you feel like you are doing the Tour de France. There are thousands of spectators and many of them running along side you yelling encouragement, waving flags, ringing cowbells, pushing you etc. etc. Hair-standing-on-your arm moments. The bike course takes you through small towns where the town’s people cheer you on as they sit, eat and drink beer at long tables along side of the streets.
The run course is flat and takes you through the woods and waterways around the area. You are allowed to listen to your favorite music on the run with your MP3 player or iPhone, so there is a lot of head bopping on the course.  The best part is the finish. You run a loop in a stadium purposely built for this triathlon and cross the finish line to the roar of thousands of spectators, the sound of music and announcers with lights flashing everywhere.You are then escorted into the Finisher Tents where you can take hot or cold showers. They even supply soap, shampoo and conditioner. This is why they encourage you to have a change of clothing in your morning bag which you get back when you are done  Then they have foot massages, body massages and food and beverages fit for a king and queen. There is no cold pizza here!  Pastries, fruits, sandwiches galore…to yogurts, to oatmeal, to coffee, water, orange juice, watermelon chunks and, yes, beer.
The evening concludes with the last of the athletes finishing and a huge light show and 4th of July like fireworks display at the stadium. The music is amazing and the crowds are enormous waving glow sticks and sparklers. It is a sight to behold.
Over 5,000 triathletes, over 4,000 volunteers and over 250,000 spectators converge on race day.
I am going back next year. Hope to see you there, too.
Carl Knutsson
USAT Florida Region Board Member
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October Woman of the Month-Sue Caplan

SueCaplanUSAT Florida Region is so happy to announce our October Woman of the month, Sue Caplan. Sue was nominated by a close friend Lisa. Sue embodies what it means to represent our region – a determined, hard working woman! She has goals and works hard to achieve them!

SueCaplan1In her nomination, Lisa said,

“Sue is a dedicated mother, wife and loyal friend. Her determination and persistence with her own life goals while taking care of and bringing up a family, is what inspires others to do more than they ever though they could do. I am nominating her for this honor. I could not tell you how she got started before we met, I can only tell you that she has changed my life by inspiring my journey.”

Sue’s bio is wonderful, please read on to see how she got started with the sport and what inspires her to stay with it!




SueCaplan2Triathlon was a dare from my brother Ramsey 9 years ago! I didn’t swim or bike and he promised to come visit me from Texas if we could do a triathlon together. My brother had gotten into triathlon after back surgery to help get him into shape. This new hobby filled the gap of a career that I left to stay at home with my two amazing daughters. I have loved the training and commitment to do triathlon which is extremely challenging and therefore rewarding. I have a dynamic husband that inspires me every day. I’m originally from Texas but have been in Florida for 20 years and absolutely love the climate where you can train year round. I have family in Texas and Massachusetts and I am inspired by all the local athletes in the Boca Tri Club and also train with WeBe Running. Both groups have really helped me stay focused and motivated. I get my strength and conditioning at Evolution Fitness and admire their commitment to healthy bodies. I am doing my first full Ironman in Panama City Beach, FL in one month and hope to inspire others to get fit!

My goal for this race is to FINISH feeling strong!

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Posted in woman of the month, woman's initiative

John Korff to Serve as the Keynote Speaker for USA Triathlon Florida Region’s First Annual Race Director Symposium

korff from USAT

Former owner of the New York City Triathlon will speak on November 15

ORLANDO, FLORIDA —   Hold on to your hat and grab a seat! Our keynote speaker will be the always exciting John Korff, former owner of the legendary New York City Triathlon. An athlete himself, he has competed in over a hundred marathons and many ultra distance runs. A graduate of the Harvard Business School and Brandeis University, John began his sports management career as the General Manager of the Boston Lobsters in World Team Tennis. He also owned and organized the A & P Tennis Classic featuring the world’s top women players. Involved in the exhilarating world of hot air ballooning, he was a partner in the Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. Currently living in Sarasota, Florida, John is the owner of Korff Enterprises, a sports and event marketing company.
USA Triathlon Florida Region’s First Annual Race Director Symposium will kick off on Saturday, November 15, 2014, at 8 A.M. The registration fee to attend the symposium is $99 prior to November 1 and $115 after that. To register for the symposium, please go to Active.com. The host hotel will be the Holiday Inn Across from Universal Studios at 5905 South Kirkman Road, Orlando, Florida. To make hotel reservations please call 407-351-3333.

Other presenters will include Lacey Chimienti, Shaelyn Haag, Al Johnson, Tom Reilly, Jim Sheets, Hector Torres and Terri Walters.

Register Here!

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USA Triathlon Florida Region’s First Annual Race Director Symposium-Orlando, FL

To Be Held at the Holiday Inn Across from Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, on November 15, 2014

USA Triathlon’s Florida Region is proud to announce that the Region’s First Annual Florida Region Race Director Symposium will be held on Saturday, November 15, 2014, in Orlando, Florida. This exciting one-day event will offer race directors four CEUs toward their certification plus lots of new photo of symposiuminformation. It will also be a great opportunity for race directors to network with others from the region while discussing topics that apply to Florida events. Tom Reilly, the Region’s vice chair said, “We’ve been working on this Symposium for quite some time. One of our goals
is to address the issues that are of prime
importance to Florida’s race directors.”

The schedule includes:

The Importance of Volunteers and Sponsors: Attracting Volunteers and Sponsors.

Paratriathletes: Making Your Events Accessible and Hospitable to Paratriathletes. Officials: The Importance of the USA Triathlon Certified Officials’ Program.
Youth in Multisport: A Grass Roots Approach.
Women’s Initiatives: Attracting Women to Your Events.

USA Triathlon: Race Director Certification, Risk Management, Best Practices. Race Director Roundtable: An Open Forum.

flamingo cutout copyThe registration fee to attend the one-day Symposium is $99 per person prior to November 1. After that date, cost will be $115 per person. To make Symposium reservations, please go to Active.com.

The host hotel will be the Holiday Inn Across from Universal Studios, 5905 South Kirkman Road, Orlando, Florida 32819, phone 407-351-3333.

The Race Director Symposium is, of course, also open to non-certified race directors, race directors from other regions, coaches and anyone else that would like to attend.

By the way, the Symposium would be a great opportunity to mix a little business with pleasure. Bring your family along for a short “staycation” in the heart of the Sunshine State. While you’re participating in a stimulating and educational day of race director business, they can spend the day enjoying the Orlando area’s many exciting attractions—a win for everyone!

Seats are going fast, so make sure you don’t miss out on this fantastic experience!

Posted in Latest News, RADC


As triathletes we enjoy the training process as much as the event itself. Whether we admit it or not we do or else why would we spend so many countless hours for something that lasts relatively a very short period of time? For example, most triathletes will spend 6-9 months training for something that lasts less than a day or 6-9 weeks on a race that lasts 2 hours.
However, one phase of training I have noticed is sorely lacking. Adversity training. What do I mean ? I have noticed that many triathletes will choose their particular training on a specific day based on what the conditions are. They will run in the dark to avoid the heat. They will figure out their bike route so to avoid as much headwind as possible or skip the ride all together if it is raining. If the water is choppy many people will skip the open water swim and head to the pool instead.
Now, let me say this first, that a person’s safety and well being is of utmost importance. Don’t be foolish.  If there is lightning take shelter. If it is hot make sure you are hydrated and keep up with the electrolytes.  If the lake, river or sea is so rough that swimming is banned, yes, go to the pool.
Be smart, not foolish.
With that being said the more challenging the training is the more we will benefit not only physically, but mentally as well. Being able to cope with adversity in a proactive manner can mean the difference between a DNF and a PR. So do train when the conditions a less than ideal. Be glad to have the opportunity to do so. If it is raining take some air out of your tires for better grip and outfit yourself properly and head out. If the sun is blazing bring water and electrolytes with, slow the pace down, but head out running with walk breaks if necessary. There is no shame in that. Whether on a bike or run bring cash with you, so you can go into a gas station or whatever and re-stock your nutrition. If the water is somewhat rough go and swim with a training buddy or buddies, stay close to shore and have fun.
Your swim pace will obviously slow down, but you will be able to improve, for example, your breathing. You might have to breath on the side that you are not comfortable with because of the waves. Great training. Remember race conditions can very often be less than ideal, so be prepared. If you get a flat don’t call someone to pick you up. Have the tools and tubes with you and fix it yourself. The more often you do it the better at it you will be. On race day this ability could certainly save the day.
You have too much money invested in this sport to leave things to chance.
Embrace bad training conditions as a friend giving you some tough love lessons. It might suck at the time, but the experience you gain and your body’s improved conditioning because of it will be well worth it. Remember, if race conditions deteriorate you are prepared and if they are ideal you will have a breeze of a race. It is like running uphill and than having the good fortune of running on a flat surface or cycling into headwind and then all of sudden getting tailwind.
Be smart ! However, don’t let adversity hold you back. Use it to your advantage by training in and with it. Most people don’t.
And don’t forget to smile when you pass them on the course !
Carl Knutsson
USAT Florida Region Board Member
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2014 USAT Youth and Junior National Championship

DSCF1424The Florida Region was well represented at the 2014 USAT Youth and Junior National Championship in West Chester, Ohio. Florida on August 2nd.

Florida had 14 athletes racing in the draft legal Youth & Junior Elite fields and over 50 athletes representing 9 different youth teams in the non draft Youth Championship fields .
The future of multisport is very bright here in Florida and special recognition should go out to the following athletes who got top 10 in the Youth/ Junior Elite races:
Ricardo Reyes 2nd Youth Elite
Luis Ortiz 6th Youth Elite
Sam Geiman 5th Junior Elite
Youth athletes who earned the NATIONAL CHAMPION title:
Jack Diemar(8), Lawson McLeod(10), Nicolas Raffinengo(11)

In addition to the individual athlete awards, USAT Youth and Junior Nationals also recognizes the top three teams in the nation in the Junior Development and Youth Team categories. The Florida based Triton Elite Multisport High Performance Team and the Triton Elite Multisport Youth Team both earned 3rd place podium honors.

On Saturday August 23rd the Talent ID Series (TIDS) Finale and the USAT FL Junior Regional Championship was held at the Courage to Tri triathlon in Clearwater Florida.
The top junior athletes 16-19 earned the Junior Regional Champion crown. This year’s Junior Regional Champions are San Geiman who alsoe placed 2nd Overall and Ciara Hopkins who place 3rd Overall female.
In the TIDS, the winner and podium was determined by the top 3 scores from 6 Talent ID races.
Congratulations to following athletes who earned their spot on the Talent ID Series podium:

Junior Male
1-Sam Geiman
2-Graham Pimentel
3-Nic LeBlanc

Junior Fermale
1-Ciara Hopkins
2-Kaileah Blazek
3-Mackenzie Koth

Youth Male
1-Luis Ortiz
2-Lachlen Hovius
3-Chester Cooper

Youth Female
1-Reagan Quilty
2-Jesscia Blazek
3-Emma Stock

Posted in Uncategorized

USAT Florida Region August Woman of the Month

Ginny Poyner


Age: 70

Hometown: Sarasota, Florida

Triathlon Club: Sarasota Storm Triathlon Club


USAT Florida Region is so happy to announce our August Woman of the month, Ginny Poyner. Check out her bio written by Tom Reily, Vice President of USAT Florida Region.


Few people in multisport deserve recognition more than Ginny Poyner of Sarasota, Florida.GinnyPoyner1 She began her long career in multisport thirty years ago at the age of forty. Her first race was all it took. She placed second in the overall female category and she was hooked. According to her, “My big thighs were meant for cycling!”

Ginny has raced in twenty-three World Duathlon Championships. Along with Jim Girand of California,

She holds the world record for competing in the most World Duathlon Championships.

She has won four silver medals in competition.

Her multisport career hasn’t all been without problems, however. While training for the Worlds competition slated for Australia in 2005, she was hit from behind by a car and almost killed. For a long time she wore a full back brace and walked with a cane, but she didn’t quit.

The year 2013 was a real challenge. When she suffered multiple mini-strokes and then a heart attack, she learned that genetics cannot be overcome. Unwilling to give up on multisport, however, she continues to race, just slower and with the addition of some walking to her running.

GinnyPoyner2In June 2014, Ginny came in fourth at the 2014 Pontevedra ITU Duathlon World Championships. The next month at the USA Triathlon Duathlon 2014 National Championships she qualified for her twenty-fourth World Championships. To be held in Adelaide, South Australia, the World Championship race in 2015 will complete her journey.

Multisport is her passion. Torn muscles, accidents, diseases, broken bones, and a heart attack have not stopped her from racing. It is not the awards that keep her going. She simply loves competing and loves the positive attitudes of the athletes.

No matter what the age, everyone supports each other. Even young men from other countries will yell, ‘Keep it up’ or ‘Looking good’, when they pass me on the run.”

After her 2005 accident, she was asked what multisport has given her. She said, “My sport uncovered the ‘real me’ hidden in this body. I grew up in a time when women weren’t involved in sports. It was considered unladylike to sweat. Now I love it when I pass a young man in a race. It makes me smile and ride even faster.”

Ginny Poyner is a true ambassador for multisport and USA Triathlon. She is definitely a strong role model for girls and women of all ages.

Not just a competitor, Ginny does much more than race. She has been a Level II USA Triathlon Coach, has served as a USAT Certified Race Official for twelve years and is a member of the USAT National Duathlon committee. Ginny is a member of the Sarasota Storm Triathlon Club.

Ginny Poyner epitomizes what the Florida Region is looking for when a Female Athlete of the Month is named.


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2014 USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships-Recap



Congratulations to all of our Florida Region athletes that made the trip to West Chester, Ohio on August 2-3 to compete in the 2014 USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships. Nearly 1,000 athletes, ages 7-19, from all over the United States were welcomed by terrific weather, and superb Midwestern hospitality. Our Florida Region was represented by 15 elite division (ages 13-19) athletes, and 54 age group (ages 7-15) athletes from ten (10) Florida Region Youth/Junior Teams.


As a region, Florida brought home three (3) National Championship age group trophies. Congratulations to our “Age Group National Champions” Jack Diemar (Age 8), Lawson Mcleod (Age 10), and Nico Raffinengo (Age 11) for their outstanding efforts.


In addition to our National Champions, we also placed the following Florida Region athletes on the National podium: Reese McClellan (2nd place, age 7), Phoenix Marsiglo (3rd place, age 7), Jack Matthews (3rd place, age 8), Colton Cardwell (2 place, age 9), Colin Kruger (3rd place, age 9), Courtney Diemar (2nd place, age 10), Hannah Fowler (3rd place, age 11), and Haley Diemar (3rd place, age 12).

DSCF1433In the youth elite division, Ricardo Reyes (age 13-15) earned a 2nd place podium in a very competitive national field of youth elite athletes. He was followed closely by Luis Ortiz who finished 6th overall. In the ladies field, we were led by Reagan Quility who earned a 14th overall place in the youth elite division nationally.

In the Junior Elite (ages 16-19), Sam Geiman led the way with a very impressive 5th place overall nationally, while Caroline Condon earned a 15th place overall finish in the ladies field.  

A special kudos go to Triton Elite Multisport Youth for earning a 3rd place team finish in the Nation! What a great weekend, as the Florida Region made an impact in the age group events, elite events, as well as some terrific results in the team relay on Sunday.  



Jim Sheets,

Regional Youth Development Coordinator

Florida Region

Posted in Athlete Development, Latest News, Regional Championship, youth

USA Triathlon Youth Nationals 2014-West Chester, Ohio


Good luck to all our Florida Region athletes competing in West Chester, Ohio this weekend in the USA Triathlon Youth Nationals. We have a very strong group of athletes that will be representing us in Age Group competition, Youth Elite competition, and Junior Elite competition. As our Region Youth Development Coordinator, I am so proud of all our youth coaches, and teams for developing such great kids and promoting a lifestyle. Good luck, and bring us home some hardware! I will be joining you all this weekend, and hope to say hello to each of our teams over the weekend!


Posted in Clubs, Regional Championship, youth
Upcoming Events
  • Rev3:Long Course Regional Championship November 9, 2014 at 7:30 am – 1:30 pm Sharky's On the Pier, 1600 Harbor Dr S, Venice, FL, United Sta tes http://www.active.com/venice-fl/triathlon/races/rev3-florida-20 14
  • Race Directors Symposium November 15, 2014 at 8:30 am – 5:00 pm Orlando, FL, USA
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