On January 16th, NCAA Division I Legislative Council approved triathlon as an emerging sport for women. This decision will create great opportunities within the Olympic pipeline for athletes. Other sports which have succeeded by their approval in the Women’s Emerging Sport program are: water polo, bowling, ice hockey and rowing.
Triathlon is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Olympic Movement and scholarships for triathlon will be available as early as September of this year.
The youth and junior elite races will follow InternationalTriathlon Union (ITU) rules which include draft-legal cycling. Being a strong swimmer is very important in an ITU race. The reason is simple: Let’s say you are a mid-pack swimmer in triathlon. The first triathlete out of the water hops onto their bike and makes it around the first loop of the bike before you complete your swim. At that point, your race is over and you aren’t allowed to finish the race. This makes triathlon a great place for athletes whose first sport is swimming. While it takes having a good bike and run, having a strong swim can potentially be the key to winning the race.
The amount of youth involved in the sport of triathlon is greater than it has ever been in the past. Local youth races are filling quickly and some even have wait lists. This is great for the future of the sport!