Following their first steps, toddlers will soon take off to scampering through the house beginning their lifelong quest to explore every nook and cranny. Next comes the tricycle to the bicycle stage, complete with scrapes and bruises. And finally, living in the Sunshine State with water all around, every kid should be able to swim, from a safety standpoint. And there you have it, the recipe for the TriMonsters Venice Youth Triathlon Team.
The TriMonsters’ mission is to educate, inspire and empower youth about the sport of triathlon. Parents are encouraged to introduce their children to the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Compared to traditional youth sports like soccer, football, baseball, and basketball, the triathlon offers an individual sport within a team atmosphere. Kids can practice on their own, on their own time, in their own space. Unlike other team sports, a triathlon is made up of different disciplines, and requires efficiency in many skill sets.
Coach Deb Peters’ credentials are extensive. She is a USAT Certified Level 1 and Youth & Junior Triathlon Coach. Peters is a member of ACE – American Council on Exercise, a Certified Personal Trainer, and a Certified Health Coach. She is also the Florida Regional Youth Coordinator for the USA Triathlon.
Focused on family fitness, Peters came up with the idea in 2014 to add youth triathlon in to her DP Fitness adult business. She placed a little ad in the local paper, and seven kids signed up. TriMonsters is now going in to their 5th season and were the 2016 Regional Champions.
Peters explains, “Participation in youth triathlons can start a lifelong passion for a multisport lifestyle and healthy living. We welcome the opportunity for parents to let us teach their children important life skills through the sport of triathlon!”
She continues, “We focus on safety first and always. Although the kids do compete, our priority is on technique and skills. The kids develop healthy habits, strengthen camaraderie relationships, put their best foot forward, and just plain have fun.”
The great thing about training for and competing in a Triathlon is that people can do this from the time they start as a kid until they are well into retirement age. Tom Brady may be the greatest quarterback of all time, but how much longer will he appear on the professional field?
So what motivates the kids to come? Coach Deb will meet a parent out and about in the community, and explain the concept of TriMonsters. The Triathlon is a relatively new sport for kids, and once adults understand what TriMonsters is all about and that it is for kids, the lightbulb goes off, they see the benefit, and enroll their kids. TriMonsters offers a one-time complimentary 1 ½ hour practice, and invites kids to give it a try. When the newcomers see the other kids swimming, biking and running, they want to join in on the fun and become part of the team.
Then the transition occurs, and the kids encourage their parents to start training. Deb says, “I see this all of the time. Now more parents are getting involved so that they can experience the same things that their kids are doing. Just like their kids, the parents learn critical thinking, discipline, goal setting, self-confidence, capacity to push themselves to the next level, and to work their hardest.”
TriMonsters caters to kids aged 5 to 15. The Trimonsters triathlon season runs from March to September, and kids have the option to participate in four or five triathlons during the season. Training takes place on the weekend, one day for just 1 ½ hours. One prerequisite is that the kids have to know how to swim. Safety is a priority, and a lot of focus is on swimming because all of the confidence is built in the water. Plus, the kids learn all about the tides, meaning of the flag colors, open water safety, and the ocean life.
The triathlons are age specific distances. The 5-10 year olds swim 100 yards, bike 3 miles, and run a half mile. At age 11, the distance doubles, which presents a new challenge for those aging up.
All of the kids, regardless of their age, have to know what to do without any assistance. Let me walk you through the event. You arrive at the venue race in the morning. You push your bike into transition, all alone, and find your spot. You set up your bike, lay down your towel, put your shoes and socks there, grab your cap and goggles, and head to the water. You swim your race distance, exit the water, remove your cap and goggles, and run towards transition, where your bike and shoes are. As you enter transition you have to find your bike amongst rows of other bikes, sometimes, hundreds. You find your bike, put your helmet on, grab your bike and push it out of transition, then get on, and off you go. After completing your ride, you head back to transition, find your spot to re-rack your bike, and then head off running to the finish line. Now imagine, a five year old doing this! Scary and tough for an adult. Come out and see for yourself the determination, grit and character of these kids hard at work.
Deb says, “The kids are so proud when they finish. No one can take away their accomplishments and their feeling of pride. Some moms tell me that the kids will not wash off their race number written on their arm for days for it is like a badge of honor.”
Are your kids ready to be part of the sport of Triathlon? Are they ready to learn the team motto: Be Safe! Have Fun! Be Awesome! To sign up, please call TriMonsters Head Coach, Deb Peters at 813 731 8767. A phone call is a must, as there are pre-intake questions. We look forward to teaching you and your children about triathlon!