Nearly 1,000 of the nation’s most talented triathletes ages 7-19 will return to West Chester, Ohio, for the seventh consecutive year of the USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships. The weekend of racing will be held at Voice of America Park from Aug. 4-5.
Youth & Junior Nationals have been held in West Chester since 2012. In December of 2016, USA Triathlon entered into an unprecedented agreement with West Chester and Butler County to host the event through 2021.
“USA Triathlon is proud to return to Voice of America Park to host another fun-filled and inspiring Youth & Junior Nationals weekend,” said Brian D’Amico, USA Triathlon Director of Events. “Each year, this race showcases the most promising up-and-coming triathlon stars while welcoming participants of all abilities. We look forward to providing a premier race experience as we celebrate the performances of these young athletes.”
Racing begins on begins Saturday, Aug. 4, with draft-legal championship races for junior elite (ages 16-19) and youth elite (ages 13-15) athletes. Both the junior elite and youth elite events feature a draft-legal format, similar to what is contested in the Olympic Games and other elite events on the International Triathlon Union circuit.
Junior elite athletes, starting at 8 a.m. ET, will cover a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run course. Youth elite athletes start at 11:05 a.m. ET and will cover a 375m swim, 10k bike and 2.5k run. Athletes in these races earned spots on the start list through qualifying events, including last year’s national championship and the five draft-legal events that made up the 2018 USA Triathlon Junior Elite Series. For more information about the Junior Elite Series, visit usatriathlon.org/usatjuniors.
On Sunday, Aug. 5, junior elite and youth elite athletes ages 13-19 will compete in the ninth edition of the draft-legal Mixed Team Relay, starting at 7:30 a.m. ET. Each athlete on a four-person team will complete a 250m swim, 5k bike and 1.2k run before tagging off to the next teammate. Last year, this event featured nearly 50 teams.
The relay format is similar to that of the elite ITU Mixed Relay World Series. The ITU launched the series this season to showcase the fast-paced discipline ahead of its inclusion as a medal event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Following the relay, the age-group Youth National Championships will get underway. This event, which is non-draft-legal and has no qualifying criteria, provides the opportunity for youth athletes ages 7-15 to compete for national titles in their age groups.
Youth paratriathletes will kick off the action in the PC Open division at 10:40 a.m. ET, followed by the rest of the youth age-group field beginning at 10:55 a.m. ET. Athletes ages 11-15, including paratriathletes, will race on a 200m swim, 10k bike and 2k run course. Younger athletes ages 7-10 will complete a 100m swim, 5k bike and 1k run. Registration for the age-group races is still open at usatriathlon.org/jr2018.
In addition to the individual competitions throughout the weekend, awards will be given to the top youth club in non-drafting events and the top development team in draft-legal events.
Some of the most accomplished elite triathletes in U.S. history got their start at Youth & Junior Nationals, including 2016 Olympians Greg Billington and Ben Kanute, four-time ITU Triathlon World Cup medalist Kevin McDowell, 2017 ITU U-23 world champion Tamara Gorman and 2017 ITU World Triathlon Edmonton silver medalist Taylor Knibb.
For the fifth consecutive year at Youth & Junior Nationals, USA Triathlon’s Tri for Change program will be present. Tri for Change provides opportunities for children in underserved communities to train for a triathlon with a dedicated coach, culminating in a premier race experience at the Youth National Championships. In 2018, the program expanded to several chapters across the United States, including Cleveland; Camden, New Jersey; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
As part of Tri for Change, children receive a training plan and guidance from a USA Triathlon Certified Coach, training gear and equipment on an as-needed basis, and financial support for travel, race entry and membership fees.
USA Triathlon will also host a Tri for Change Bike Build on Saturday, August 4, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Through this volunteer opportunity, participants will construct youth-sized bikes for underserved children in the local community. For more information or to sign up to volunteer, visit usatriathlon.org/triforchange or contact Megan Ritch at email@example.com.
For complete event details for the 2018 USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships, visit usatriathlon.org/jr2018.
About USA Triathlon: 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 events and connects with more than 400,000 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).