Making Triathlon Fun for Youth

Let’s face it, as parents and coaches, it is our responsibility to make exercise and activity fun for kids. When we were young, we were active out of boredom mostly, what else was there to do? We rode our bikes everywhere, we ran around the neighborhood or the park, and we swam in someone’s pool, the lake or the beach. We made up games like flashlight tag for another reason to run around. We were in essence triathletes, we just never knew it. The challenge today is breaking kids away from the television, the computer games, the tablet, the phone and keeping them active. As a youth triathlon coach, my focus at practice is on teaching the kids the sport, in a safe and fun manner. They have no idea how hard they are training, because the practices are fun, and we rarely hear complaining.   Here are a few examples of what I mean.


We all understand that to be a better swimmer we need to get some yardage in, but I don’t know too many kids who just love to grind out laps. But break them up into groups and turn their laps into a relay race and they will swim all afternoon. Have them all start at the same spot and instruct them to take 10 strokes and see who gets the furthest, will get them to focus on a more powerful pull. Grab a few tennis balls and have them race to grab them and swim back to the start, and you will see some explosive power for sure. Buddy swims: pair up a faster and a slower swimmer and tell them they have to stay together. This shows the faster swimmer how to slow down their pace, and makes the slower swimmer work harder to keep up, both are learning a different, but valuable skill, while swimming side by side.

There are so many ways to incorporate fun into the bike portion of training.   Ride the line, work on keeping the bike straight by riding a paint line, either that you make, or in an empty parking lot. Riding one handed helps to develop core stabilization which helps when reaching for your water bottle during a longer ride. Follow the leader, divide the group into small packs and put a different kid in the lead for each lap, then have the athlete in the back practice passing.   The kids love this one.


Making running fun is pretty easy to do, there are so many games to play that include running. Relays, similar to the swim drills are great; one of our favorites is the 40 yard dash. Have the kids all run individually, then have them find a buddy that has a similar time and race them against each other, it’s amazing how much faster they both go.

Triathlons are pretty structured, and require proper training to keep everyone safe. Turning training into a game helps to keep it fun while teaching the kids a lifelong sport.

See you at the races!!

For more information on USAT Youth programs in the Florida Region – Click Here


Coach Deb Peters, USA Triathlon Florida Region Youth Coordinator, USAT Level 1 & Youth/Junior Coach

Email :

Phone: 813-731-8767

Posted in Latest News

USAT Rules: What is Drafting?


Ask triathletes about drafting and they’ll say it’s bad. And of course they’ll all tell you that they definitely know what drafting is. Many will say that it’s “sucking someone’s wheel” or following too closely to another cyclist or getting within one foot of the cyclist in front of you. Well, there’s a lot more to drafting than that!

Since approximately half of the penalties that USA Triathlon officials write are for drafting, it’s obvious that officials take it quite seriously. So, what exactly does it mean to draft? And what is a draft zone?

Each cyclist on the course has his own draft zone and as long as the cyclist is riding to the right, he has the right of way. But again, what’s a draft zone? The draft zone is the rectangular area that is seven meters long and two meters wide that surrounds each bicycle.

According to the USA Triathlon Competitive Rules, “While on the cycling course, no participant shall permit his drafting zone to intersect with or remain intersected with the drafting zone of a leading cyclist or that of a motor vehicle.” You’re thinking if that were strictly followed, no cyclist would ever be able to pass another, right?


Not true. If you decide that you want to pass a cyclist that is riding to the right, you may enter that person’s zone to make your pass. You can’t hang there forever though. Once you enter that zone from the rear, you must complete your pass within fifteen seconds. You can’t sit in the zone of another cyclist for more than fifteen seconds or you’ve drafted. You can’t enter another’s draft zone and then decide you cannot make the pass and drop out to the rear or to the side. If you do that, you’ve drafted. If you enter someone’s draft zone and the other cyclist decides to stand up on the pedals and leave you in the dust and you don’t make your pass within fifteen seconds, you’ve drafted. It’s a bicycle race…no one has to let you pass him or her!

Thomas Reilly
Regional Official’s Coordinator 
USA Triathlon – Florida Region

Vice Chair – Florida Region
Posted in Latest News

Registration link now open for Florida Region’s USA Triathlon Coaches Symposium

usat_sanctioned_event_logo-300x300photo of symposium

A not to be missed event!

Register Here:

USA Triathlon Florida Region  Coaches Symposium is the industry leading opportunity for coaches to meet and network with peers across the region, engage with the USA Triathlon regional and national staff, speak one-on-one with the risk management team, and interact with regional trendsetters.

Become current on a host of issues and trends facing the multi-sport industry. Key topics include marketing, risk management, youth event execution and profitability challenges, Paratriathlon inclusion, safety and liability case studies that drive event management decision-making and our keynote speak Susan Daniels from the St. Anthony’s Triathlon.

CEU’s will be accredited towards coaches.

Save the date: December 10, 2016

Location: Rosen Inn 9000 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

Posted in Latest News

Florida athletes claim their “steak” in Omaha!


Hundreds of the Sunshine State’s top triathletes tested themselves against the best in country at this past weekend’s USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals. It included both an Olympic distance race on Saturday & a Sprint distance on Sunday. Some participants did them BOTH!!

USAT Florida Region is very proud of the performance of all the triathletes that represented our region and wants to recognize those would stood on the podium.

Linda Robb

Olympic Distance:

Linda Robb (Juno Beach, FL) – 2nd Place Overall Female Masters & 1st Place Female 50-54

Dan Connolly (Sun City Center, FL) – 1st Place Male 80-84

Marty Freeza (Jupiter, FL) – 6th Place Male 70-74

Kevin Simmons (Lake Mary, FL) – 3rd Place Male 65-69

Carol Hassell (West Palm Beach, FL) – 3rd Place Female 60-64

Steve Gallagher (Winter Park, FL) – 9th Place Male 60-64

Kerry Simmons (Lake Mary, FL) – 4th Place Female 50-54

John Macedo (St. Petersburg, FL) – 6th Place Male 50-54

Kyle Hooker (Jacksonville, FL) – 3rd Place Male 25-29

Armando Abaunza (Tallahassee, FL) – 3rd Place Male 20-24

Alma Campiani (Key Biscayne, FL) – 1st Place Female 16-19

Hazelyn Cates (Oviedo, FL) – 8th Place Female 16-19

Sprint Distance:

Kyle Hooker (Jacksonville, FL) – 2nd Place Overall Male & 2nd Place Male 25-29

Winston Allen (St. Augustine, FL) – 1st Place Male 85+

Willy Moolenaar (Indialantic, FL) – 5th Place Female 75-79

Lois Leon (Miami, FL) – 1st Place Female 70-74

Holly Alexander (Citrus Springs, FL) – 5th Place Female 65-69

Jim Sumara (Jacksonville, FL) – 4th Place Male 65-69

Kevin Simmons (Lake Mary, FL) – 5th Place Male 65-69

Carol Hassell (West Palm Beach, FL) – 2nd Place Female 60-64

Kerry Simmons (Lake Mary, FL) – 2nd Place Female 50-54

Andrew Swanson (Sarasota, FL) – 4th Place Male 50-54

Celia Dubey (Tarpon Springs, FL) – 3rd Place Female 40-44

Thomas Barton (Miami, FL) – 4th Place Male 25-29

Armando Abaunza (Tallahassee, FL) – 2nd Place Male 20-24


Full results for both races can be found HERE








Posted in Latest News

Florida Youth & Juniors “rock it” in Ohio!


August 3, 2016

USAT Florida Region

For Immediate Release by the USAT Florida Region Youth Committee:

What an incredibly amazing inspiring weekend!

Congratulations to all the athletes and teams that participated this past weekend at Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio for the Youth & Junior National Championship. Standing at the finish line watching these young triathletes was both amazing and humbling. These kids really gave all out stellar performances!

Representing 38 states, 81 USAT Youth & Elite teams with over 800 athletes arrived for a jam packed weekend of competition.

Four of our Florida Region teams placed in the top 15 of those 81 Teams, with three placing in the top 10!

  • Triton Elite Multisport 5th place
  • Kennedy Law Racing Landsharks 6th place
  • South Florida Lightning 10th place
  • Jr Hammerheads 13th place

Congratulations to all these athletes and coaches for their outstanding achievements!

USAT Youth Natls

Triathlon is a team sport that recognizes individual performance, and we are proud of the Florida athletes that stood atop the podium for our Region:

  • Luke Rosser, Oakland FL – Male age 14 – 1st place
  • Nicholas Raffinengo, Boynton Beach FL – Male age 13 – 2nd place
  • Hannah Fowler, Boca Raton FL – Female age 13 – 2nd place
  • Lawson McLeod, Port St Lucie FL – Male age 12 – 1st place
  • Charlotte Joseph, Ponte Vedra FL – Female age 9 – 3rd place
  • Brook Glover, Tampa FL – Male age 8 – 3rd place
  • Colton Blankenfeld, Archer FL – Male age 7 – 1st place   

Congratulations go out the West Chester & USA Triathlon for hosting this event, all the parents, coaches, athletes and volunteers that made the weekend a huge success!

Your annual USAT membership provides programs that support the multisport lifestyle as a lifelong sport in a supportive community environment that encourages participation from a diverse group of individuals at all age levels. Beyond sanctioned races, this modest membership investment also supports USAT programs such as Youth Development, High School Programs, Emerging NCAA Collegiate Triathlon, and Para-triathlon, among others

Please check out the benefits here:

For more information about the USAT Florida Youth Programs, feel free to email or call Florida Region Youth Coordinator, Deb Peters at or 813-731-8767.     

Posted in Latest News

Florida Region – Club Championship Results!


August 1st, 2016

USAT Florida Region

For Immediate Release by the USAT Florida Region Club Committee:

Congratulations to all the athletes and clubs on a spectacular race yesterday at the Huntington’s Triathlon at the Larry and Penny Thompson Park in Miami, FL. The participation of clubs yesterday exceeded everyone’s expectations with over 240 athletes representing 19 USAT triathlon clubs competing. This raced served as the fourth and final race in the 2016 USAT Florida Region Club Championship Series.

Clubs were divided into 2 divisions for competition purposes, Division 1 encompassing clubs with 15 or more athletes racing and Division 2 including clubs with less than 15 athletes racing.

In division 1, Alien Endurance took the crown in 1st place with 48 athletes scoring 237 points, followed closely by Tri2One with 29 athletes scoring 212 points, with South Florida Hammerheads taking 3rd place with 24 athletes scoring 145 points. Congratulations to all the other clubs fielding 15 or more athletes including Boca Raton Triathletes (112 pts), Fort Lauderdale Triathletes (103 pts), Full Circle Coaching (94 pts), and Irun Rice Triathlon Club (91 pts).

In division 2, FIU Tri Club took the win with 14 athletes scoring 78 points in a very close competition where only 10 points separated the first 4 teams; Placing 2nd in division 2 was Team Trainer with 13 athletes scoring 77 points, with Stellar Triathlon Team in 3rd place with 8 athletes scoring 72 points. Congratulations to the nine other clubs competing in division 2 including Key West Tri Club (68 pts), Miami Triathlon Club (M3T) (47 pts), TRI4FIT (41 pts), Aminorop (32 pts), Central Florida Triathlon Club (20 pts), Wahoo Triathletes (13 pts), CSP Express (11 pts), TriGators (11 pts), and MERC (3 pts).

In the overall Series Results which includes points earned at all 4 of the Club Series Races in included in the USAT Florida Region Club Championship Series, the winners were as follows:


1st Place        Alien Endurance    474 pts

2nd Place       Tri2One                     435 pts

3rd Place        Stellar                        326 pts

Full results are attached to this release.

As we start our planning process for Club Programs for 2017, we invite any and all comments and suggestions on ways to continue to develop our Florida Region Club Programs. We also would encourage all Clubs to keep their USAT registrations current and to remind their members of all the benefits of USAT annual membership including being eligible to score points in Club Championships.

Your club and annual USAT membership provides programs that support the multisport lifestyle as a lifelong sport in a supportive community environment that encourages participation from a diverse group of individuals at all age levels. Beyond sanctioned races, this modest membership investment also supports USAT programs such as Youth Development, High School Programs, Emerging NCAA Collegiate Triathlon, and Para-triathlon, among others.

Please check out the benefits here:

For more information about the USAT Florida Region Club Championship Series, feel free to email or call Club Program liaison Roger McVeigh at or 305-394-7555.


Posted in Clubs, Latest News, Race Director, Regional Championship

2016 USAT Florida Region Hall of Fame Nomination



The  Florida Region is actively seeking nominations for the USA Triathlon Florida Region Hall of Fame. Certain individuals and contributors over the years have demonstrated excellence in every aspect of multisport in the Florida Region. They have inspired others to elevate their performance, participation and involvement in multisport. Now is your chance to recognize them.

To nominate a male and female age-group athlete, a male and female elite athlete and an individual or entity that has made a unique contribution to multisport in the Florida Region, you should email Hector Torres, Florida Region Chair, at, and request a 2016 Florida Region Hall of Fame Nomination Form and the Criteria for Eligibility for Nomination.

We all know someone that has inspired us to become involved with the exciting world of multi-sport… someone who motivated us to do things we never dreamed were possible. Help to reward and honor those people with a nomination to the Florida Region’s Hall of Fame.

Don’t end up with a DNF because you forgot to nominate an age-group male and female, an elite athlete male and female, and a unique contributor that deserves to be considered for the Florida Region’s first annual Hall of Fame. They did their part—it’s time to do yours!

The Florida Region’s Annual Hall of Fame celebration will be held in Orlando on Saturday, December 10, 2016.

Nominations open from July 30 – August 30, 2016
Committee meets: September 10, 2016
Announcement made on October 1, 2016
Hall of Fame Induction – December 10, 2016.
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Posted in Latest News

Deb Peters appointed new USA Triathlon Florida Region youth coordinator!


Contact: Deb Peters


Telephone (cell): 813-731-8767

July 18, 2016




Orlando, FL – July 18, 2016: The USAT Florida Regional Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Deb Peters to the position of Florida Region Youth Coordinator.

Hector Torres, the USAT Florida Region President says, “We are excited about Deb taking on the position as the new Youth Coordinator. She will be educating and empowering youth and their families throughout the state about the benefits of a multi-sport lifestyle.”

Deb is eager to share her initiative towards youth programming for the Florida Region. “I am excited to have been appointed the new Florida Region Youth Coordinator.   When I started my fitness career, I knew I wanted to focus on family fitness, not knowing then that triathlon would be the way I would do that. I participated in my first triathlon at the age of 47 and was hooked. I quickly incorporated triathlons as part of my toolbox to help people get in shape. In 2014, I took my passion for the sport to the younger generation, and have been showing children how being active can be fun and exciting. Not only are these kids learning a sport that can last them a lifetime, they are learning some core life values.   Swim, bike, run are the basics of triathlon, but through the sport, commitment, discipline, adversity and dedication are also learned. The outcome is a confident, healthy child that will always remember crossing the finish line for the first time! I am passionately dedicated to growing youth triathlon in our Florida Region.”

At the end of July, Deb will be representing the Florida Region at the 2016 Youth Nationals in West Chester, Ohio. She will be on hand throughout the weekend and act as the liaison for the Florida athletes. Deb will be there to answer any questions and to help facilitate this amazing experience for all the Florida athletes and their families.

USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Deb Peters at USA Triathlon Florida Region at 813-731-8767 or at



Posted in Latest News

USAT – Florida: Regional Club Championship Series


July 13th, 2016, revised Club Standings
For Immediate Release by the USAT Florida Region Club Committee:

Congratulations to the Stellar Triathlon Club of Saint Augustine on 1st Place scoring 182 points in the third race of the USAT Florida Region Club Championship Series on Saturday, June 18th, 2016 at the Jacksonville Triathlon in beautiful Fernandina Beach, the first in a three-race series put on by DRC Sports. Stellar narrowly beat out the Hammerhead Triathlon Club of Jacksonville, a strong 2nd Place challenger and local area club with 159 points who was closely followed by Gulf Winds Triathletes of Tallahassee in 3rd Place with 132 points and the PRS Triathlon Club also of Jacksonville who scored 128 points taking 4th Place.

Stellar Tri

Congratulations are also due to the 5 other USAT registered triathlon clubs competing in this third Club Series Championship Race which included the G3 Gainesville Triathlon Club (96 pts), the Total Fitness Triathlon Club of Tarpon Springs (21 pts), the Lakeland Land Sharks (10 pts), TRI (9 pts), and the Seminole County Triathletes (7 pts). The race included 9 actively registered USAT Clubs who had a combined 103 athletes competing with another 4 Clubs and 23 athletes ineligible for scoring because of expired USAT Club or Annual Membership registrations.

Next up in the popular USAT Florida Region Club Championship Series is the Grand Finale, the Annual USAT Florida Region Club Championship being held at the Huntington’s Disease Triathlon in Miami, FL on July 31, 2016, for more information, please click

Clubs competing at Huntington’s in Miami in late July will be eligible for both individual race awards as well as the overall Club Series Region Championship which will combine points from all 4 races in the Series.

For more information about the USAT Florida Region Club Championship Series, feel free to email or call Club Program liaison Roger McVeigh at or 305-394-7555.



Posted in Latest News

Long Run / Endurance Intervals – Workout #3

For those of you training for long course you can integrate some race pace intervals into a longer run to get a little more out of that run without necessarily have to go as far.

90 min run: 15-20 min warm up, 4 x 10 min @ goal race pace for 1/2 marathon w/5 min recovery, remaining time is cool down.

Posted in Latest News
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