With the 2015 triathlon season now well underway and the Clarien Ironkids Triathlon almost upon us it is clear that the Tri Hedz junior programme, junior triathlon camps and well organized junior races are ensuring that Bermuda’s junior triathlon programme is in a healthy state. The Tokio Millenium Triathlon saw 16 year old Tyler Smith dominate the field and Matthew Oliveira take 3rd in the adult category whilst on the women’s side 17 year old Erica Hawley was 2nd and 15 year old Lynsey Palmer clocked an impressive 1 hr 17 mins 29 secs in her first sprint distance triathlon. With Tri Hedz starting juniors at 7 years old it is no surprise that in the 7 to 10 and 11 to 15 junior distance triathlons we almost have some exciting prospects some of whom will no doubt be competing with the adults in the next few years.
Amongst the 7 to 10 year old boys Blake Oliveira (10) has dominated this season and has been unbeaten, notably taking 1st place in the Caitlin and Aon junior triathlons and 1st place in the Tokio Millenium Duathlon. Ed Norman (9), was 2nd in all of these races. Only 37 secs separated the top 6 at the Tokio Duathlon with Manning Smith (10), Lucas Castree ( 9), Oliver Verster and Rory Fleming rounding out the top 6. Rory and Jake Smith are just 8 years old and showed that they are exciting talents as they finished 3rd and 4th overall amongst 7 to 10 year olds at the Aon Junior Triathlon . Amongst the girls, Jasmin Hasselkuss (9) has dominated the 7 to 10 category this year with some impressive performances showing that she has her dad’s (Dirk) racing genes and determination. The 11 to 15 age group has some very experienced juniors some of whom are not only racing in Bermuda but in competitive Youth Elite races abroad. Notable amongst the boys are Alex Pilgrim (14) and brother Nick (12) who when in Bermuda (Alex is away at school) dominate this category and are competitive against some of the CAMTRI regions best junior elite triathletes. Tommy Marshall (who was 1st in the Aon Triathlon 11-15) and Adrian McPhee (both 11) and Caleb Ingham (2nd in Aon) and Alex Southern (both 12) are other exciting junior prospects. Yannick Hiller (14) who won the Tokio Duathlon is a new name on the scene who is sure to impress whilst 15 year old brothers, Cameron and Max De Ste Croix, whose parents Neil and Claire were both national triathlon champions, are two other excellent juniors who often podium in the 11-15 age group.
Amongst the girls we have already mentioned Lynsey Palmer. 12 year old Amber Simons is an outstanding junior with an impressive swim and run and improving bike and finished only seconds behind Lynsey at Aon. Two 11 year olds, Zoe Hasselkuss and Megan Hands, are also ones to watch whilst amongst the older girls Laura Hope (15 – see report on the Argo Re Series) and Alyssa Rowse continue to impress. Ofcourse junior triathlon is all about participation and it is great to see that numbers, especially amongst the 7 to 12 ages, continue to be strong in junior races. A new exciting initiative for 13 to 19 year olds will be announced by the BTA in September / October which will provide the platform for these juniors to develop their talent, help train new coaches at all levels and introduce many more juniors to racing at international level ; more to follow !! With apologies to any juniors who did not get mentioned who should have been but were overlooked.