The Australian Schools Triathlon Festival is an exciting new multi-sport initiative presented jointly by School Sport Australia (SSA) and Triathlon Australia. The inaugural ASTF is scheduled for 18-21 April 2017 in Penrith, NSW. The ASTF is an outstanding opportunity for secondary school students from all over Australia to be part of this national multi-sport festival aimed specially at students.
The ASTF has two key event categories; the existing School Sport Australia Triathlon Championships and the new Australian Open Schools Triathlon, where ANY student aged 13 and above can represent their school at the Australian Schools Triathlon Festival.
CLICK HERE for more information on the Australian Schools Triathlon Festival!
In the lead up to the inaugural event, we spoke to Triathlon NSW’s Athlete and Coach Pathway Manager Mick Delamotte to get his thoughts on the not-to-be-missed event.
How important is the existing School Sport Australia Triathlon Championships in developing young triathletes?
The School Sport Australia Triathlon Championships is a critical event in the development pathway for youth & junior athletes. The draft legal format provides skill development opportunities for the demands of competition at Elite level (Commonwealth & Olympic Games & ITU events). It provides the opportunity for athletes to train for and compete in a competition environment that is in line with pathway goals & objectives.
Th School Sport Australia Triathlon Championships has been remodeled this year to include an Australian Open Schools Triathlon. What are your thoughts on this and do you think it is a good thing for the sport of triathlon?
The best form of Talent Identification is inclusion & whilst some of our brightest talents will compete in the championship event, the Open Schools event will also be a great Talent ID avenue.
There has been many an Elite Professional athlete that has missed competing in the Championship event in the past and has then had no further opportunity to participate in an Open School event at this time of the season.
One of NSW' own, Brendan Sexton, is a great example. We have many talented swimmers & runners that are not yet strong enough or skilled enough on the bike to compete in a triathlon, but they have an opportunity to participate and show their talent in this racing opportunity as well (aquathlon). Apart from the Talent ID avenue, the open participation nature allows for any level of athlete to race & I would see this as a great opportunity for a student to bring a friend from school to participate in the event with them.
So the Australian Open Schools Triathlon would be a good introduction for students who have never competed in a triathlon before?
It’s PERFECT! You can represent your school, race with a friend and give the sport a go with other like-minded kids in what is a fantastic course for beginners. Safe/still open water, flat & non-technical roads and a flat run.
Will you also use the Australian Schools Open Triathlon as a talent identification tool for students to potentially be a part of Triathlon NSW Development camps?
Absolutely! I’ve seen plenty of talented young kids compete at the NSW All Schools event that had only ridden a bike once or twice. There are plenty of late developers who possess a great competitive nature and skill set that don't get 'results'. There are also plenty of swimmers and runners that ride mountain bikes on race day or borrow a road bike for the first time and come up against kids that have been riding for years. We see these things & are looking further afield for our next potential Olympian.
Are there any examples of professional triathletes who never represented their state in the School Sport Australia Triathlon Championships?
As mentioned above, Brendan Sexton is an U/23 World Champion medallist, and Olympian, and he failed to make a NSW All Schools Team. If he wasn't identified through the pathway system and Coach Jamie Turner at the time, he would not have pursued the sport further. I am super confident there is another Brendan Sexton type athlete in the male or female Open Schools event.
So the Open Category will help the development of students who miss selection for their state?
Absolutely, I would urge any athlete that missed the cut for the Championship event to persist with their dream and passion. Go and race the Open event, apart from simply being a fun race, scouts will be out watching!