November 5, 2013
In 2009, I noticed a gap in the triathlon community of San Diego,
where development of junior talent, and introduction of the sport
at a young age was missing, especially for Olympic-style,
draft-legal triathlon. I saw that there were two very large and
successful programs in the US, one based in suburban Chicago and
the other in Des Moines, IA, and figured if there was a place to be
successful with a junior program, it would be here in the
birthplace of the sport. I had retired from professional racing,
and decided that if anyone was qualified to start a program in San
Diego, it was me. After all, I was a school teacher and coach for 6
years before leaving to focus on triathlon
In 2010 the program TriJuniors was born. That first year we finished 11th in the national championship team standings. In the following 2 years, we would finish 5th each year, despite the massive growth of the sport and more teams popping up all over the US. This past season, we finished 9th, but produced a #1 ranked Junior Male in the US, and the top 13 year old female at Nationals. I am encouraged by the progress and talent of the youth in the program. It's been especially rewarding to look out and see 30 teenage athletes competing at a high level, realizing what was once just an idea in my mind had come to fruition.
With the NCAA set to vote on January 18-19th, 2014, for triathlon to become the next women's sport, and would be set to begin in the fall of 2014, we are at a crossroads for both the swim world and triathlon. Most swim programs around the country are very controlling, expecting athletes to commit to only swimming, and many only want pool swimming at that. They ignore open water, and triathlon. Their interest is only in the goals of the club, not what is best for the individual athlete.
Enter, Formula Endurance.
Formula Endurance's goal is to be the ONLY USA Triathlon High Performance Team and USA Swimming Club in the US, by January 1, 2014. We are already a USA Triathlon High Performance Team, and the swimming part should be completed before that date.
Why is this a big deal? Because when a female athlete finds their path to an NCAA scholarship is not highly probable in swimming, (like most swimmers), they deserve a chance to pursue triathlon. The fact Formula Endurance is both a swim and triathlon club, focused on pool swimming, open water and triathlon, (heck, even supporting training for water polo), means more opportunities for athletes to develop and find the best path for themselves, male or female. We don't restrict athletes, we support them. Swim programs around the country will find if they don't offer triathlon, they will begin to lose athletes to programs like this.
If you are going to be a top level male or female junior elite triathlete in the US and prepared for NCAA and beyond, you need to be serious about swimming, and this will give them the opportunity to do so. This program model will likely set the precedent of what a develop program should be for triathlon, as well as for swimming.
What happened to TriJuniors? Nothing, it just changed its name to Formula Endurance. Mostly because it was not a good name for a swim club, and I want it to be consistent across both sports. Formula Endurance is still a 501c3, non-profit organization.