May 10, 2018
This past weekend, FAST athletes competed on the national level – both in open water swimming and triathlon. A little background on each. Open water competitive swimming is unique. When you take away the lane lines and put swimmers side-by-side, the competing, drafting, strategizing, and racing become very different – and very exciting. On the triathlon side of things, take those open water components and add two additional disciplines – biking and running. A triathlon with the “Elite” title is draft-legal and very competitive. These races take a higher level of skill and strategy than an average sprint triathlon. The races consist of a 750m Swim, 20k Bike, and 5k Run. Back to our athletes…
Heading to Tempe, Arizona, for the Open Water Junior National Championships were Morgan Booth, Jackson Carlile, Aaron Frollo, and Abby Jahns. For these championships, Jackson competed in the 5K race, while Morgan, Aaron, and Abby competed in the 7.5K race.
On Saturday, in his first ever open water race, Jackson Carlile WON the 5K event (see USA Swimming’s event recap). With his victory, Jackson will be nominated for a U.S. World Junior Open Water Swimming Championship team spot to compete in the 5K race in Eilat, Israel this September. On Sunday in the 7.5K race, Aaron finished 12th among the men, while Abby and Morgan finished 24th and 26th respectively. “These athletes dealt with challenges resulting from travel, race feeding, and desert heat well,” began Coach Haley, “And all four had phenomenal races.” As the first open water national racing experience for each athlete, different pieces of advice to pass on rose to the surface. “Training for distance is hard,” Abby began. “When I finished the race, I felt so accomplished. I would definitely do it again.” Morgan’s advice to her teammates? “Stay loose and relaxed,” she says. “You could feel the tension from the other swimmers in the starting area. Don’t take it too seriously.” From the boys? Jackson’s advice is to “always stay positive” and Aaron encouraged his teammates to “Never give up.” Congratulations to all four athletes and Coach Haley!
In Richmond, Virginia, Gillian Cridge won the USA Junior Elite race at the East Coast Triathlon Festival. Gillian is a nationally-ranked (currently #1) Junior Elite Triathlete. Gillian’s 1st place finish this weekend solidified her spot in the Youth Olympic Games Qualifier in Salinas, Ecuador on July 1, 2018. This race will determine whether she competes at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October 2018. She will have to finish as the first American to obtain this spot. At the North American Championships last month in Sarasota, Florida, Gillian placed 2nd and finished as the first American. In doing so, Gillian qualified for the CAMTRI North and South American Championships in Brasilia, Brazil on June 24, 2018. If she finishes in the top 3 overall and as the first American, she will qualify for Junior Worlds. If not, she will have another opportunity to qualify in August at Junior Nationals. Leading up to these races, Gillian will train in Girona, Spain for three weeks in June with her team, Origin Performance, before flying to Brazil. She’ll then go directly to Ecuador for the Youth Olympic Qualifier. After these races, she will return home (and to FAST) until mid-July when she head to Colorado to train leading up to Junior Nationals in August in West Chester, Ohio. Gillian’s goals this season? “I want to not only qualify for the Youth Olympic Games,” Gillian begins, “But also Junior Worlds in Gold Coast, Australia in September 2018.”
As the seasons progress, we are excited to see where your ambitions and goals take you – here in Indiana, across our country, and now across the world! FAST athletes are doing amazing things…. Stay tuned and TIGER UP!