A wrap of the season from Youth Coach Andrew Lloyd
At the end of the 2017 season - a very successful season - planning with the athletes for 2018 began & there was one reoccurring goal that kept popping up. Gold Coast Worlds Champs.
For the majority of the youth academy, qualifying for the age group World Championships in Kinloch in February wouldn’t just be the biggest race of the year but the biggest in their young triathlon careers. All bar 2 qualified for worlds on the Gold Coast in September. The 2 that missed out are both first year u19s with at least 2 more years in the same age group.
From Kinloch the focus then shifted to Nelson and New Plymouth, where being just a week apart the athletes would race in the Secondary School Nationals, NZ U19 championships, Oceania Championships, and for those born 2001/2002, the Youth Olympics games Qualifier.
Triathlon Tauranga boosts all four members of the national schools Tag Team Champions, when Otumoetai college saw off challenges from school and mixed teams from all over the country. Not only is this an outstanding achievement on its own but we have the very real possibility of repeating this victory again next year.
I’m not quite sure that most of the Senior club members are quite aware at how good these kids are. You have Junior club members racing in open elite races. You have Junior club members that are national champions. And you have a Junior club member in the Junior elite team for the Worlds ( & 1 as a reserve ), with a handful more of them knocking on the door of the same team. The depth that this club possesses in its youth grades is not only seriously strong on a local and regional front, but is now making serious inroads and a lot of heads turn at national and international level competition.
It has been a massive year of growth for these youngsters which I’ve been luckily enough to watch first hand on a daily basis. But I get the feeling that this is just the beginning and there is so much more to come.