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Limerick Talent Identification Day Report


from Triathlon Ireland website On Saturday, 14 March, as part of our developing high performance programme, Triathlon Ireland held our first talent identification day in Limerick. The event was a great success with thirty five young hopefuls attending to try out for the chance to join our junior development programme. The level of enthusiasm was high and all involved put a lot of work into making this a great success, hopefully the first of many such events. We will be announcing more of these talent identification days shortly. The purpose of these events is to identify exceptional talent, and then provide assistance and advice to develop these athletes as they progress. A number of athletes were identified during the day, demonstrating the level of talent that exists in Ireland. Triathlon Ireland is committed to developing broad based participation, especially in the junior groups. Please read on for a report on the talent day.

Triathlon Ireland would like to thank Chris Jones, Head Coach, Mark Dempsey, assistant Coach, Sinead Wearen from Trilogy Tri Club, Ellie Casey from Limerick Tri Club and other local club members who helped out on the day. Thanks also to Gordon Thomson for photographic services.

On Saturday, 14 March, Limerick Arena played host to Irish performance triathlon, but this time in the form of our first talent identification day. As we have found previously, the Arena was an excellent venue for performance sport.

The day started with registering the throng of children and parents who arrived from 9:30. Many had traveled great distances, and some clubs had arranged to bring groups of children together. Trilogy Triathlon Club went to the effort of bringing a bus of keen youngsters ready to try out to become the high performing triathletes of the future. The enthusiasm of the children was evident for all to see.

The official part of the day started with a talk from Head Coach, Chris Jones who explained what high performance triathlon at world level was. The parents and children were shown video of an ITU race, and an outline was given on what being a high performance triathlete involved. Characteristics of a high performance athlete, including physiological, mental and lifestyle were discussed. The content was advanced and detailed, but it set the tone for the day – we are looking for people who want to compete with the best of the rest of the world.

We then proceeded to the pool where the children of 16 years and under completed a 200m time trial. They were followed by the 17 and 18 year olds who swam a 400m time trial. There was a wide spread of ability, but the level of enthusiasm remained high.

As a reminder of the level of talent we were looking for, the talent model we are using gives the times below. A large proportion of the children made the swim criteria.

Following lunch we went to the track for the run time trial. Children of 16 years and under ran 1,500m, with over 16 year olds running 3km. The children gave it there all, both in their own efforts and supporting the others. We were reminded what sport is all about by the sight of children running down the home straight, competing with their closest competitor, but shouting each other on too.

A number of the children were within the criteria that we were looking for, but they all achieved something and benefited from participating in the day. All coaching staff were impressed with the conduct, maturity, and effort of the participants. The day also confirms our theory that there is a great talent in our sport, we’ve just not developed it in the past.

Developing junior triathlon is going to be one of our key focuses over the next four year cycle. Sufficient effort has not been put into the junior area of the sport in the past, hence the lack of junior members and races.