School is almost out, but that doesn't mean it is time for kids to turn into couch potatoes. A summer youth triathlon series kicks off this weekend and will keep youth athletes busy until school starts again the fall.
"This sport has just exploded as far as kids are concerned," said Suzanne Henslee, triathlete and race organizer. "It used to be you had to search for an event for kids. Now there is something going on almost every weekend."
The Youth Tri Series 2008, benefiting Lance Armstrong's Livestrong foundation, begins Saturday in Palm Harbor's Pop Stansell Park. Races also are scheduled for June 29, July 12, Aug. 10, Sept. 7 and Oct. 4. For more information, go to www.racesaregreat.
The YTS features five events at each race:
• The 5- to 6-year-olds, or the "sprinters," swim 25 yards, bike one-half to 1 mile and run a quarter-mile.
• The 7- to 8-year-olds, or "Olympians," and 9- to 10-year-olds, the "contenders," swim 100 yards, bike 2 miles and run a half-mile.
• The 11- to 14-year-olds, the "elites," swim 200 yards, bike 4 miles and run 1 mile.
• The adult "super sprinters," the parents, relatives and friends who taxi the kids to these races, swim 200 yards, bike 4 miles and run 1 mile.
Train those kids
Celia Dubey, a triathlon coach who specializes in motivating younger athletes, will hold a one-day triathlon clinic June 7 in Tarpon Springs for kids ages 6-13. Dubey, the 2007 USAT Duathlon national champion, will cover all three disciplines, as well as how to train safely.
To sign up for Dubey's summer camp, scheduled for July 14-18, register online at www.active.com under "triathlon clinic," or call (727) 938-8551.
Erin Giesa, 27, and sister Meagan, 22, placed third overall in the sister-sister division of the recent Women Run for the World 15K at Disney World in Orlando. Erin was the 11th fastest out of 2,400 women — not surprising since she was a two-time individual state champ in cross country and track at Northside Christian and competed in college at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. Meagan ran competitively at Seminole High and was a member of the University of Florida cycling team.
St. Pete Masters swimmer Bob Beach just got back from the World Masters Championship in Australia. In the 75-79 age group, Bob placed sixth in the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyle events. He also was sixth in the 3K open water swim.
Bill Specht swam at the U.S. Masters Short Course Yards Championship at the University of Texas in Austin on May 1-4. In the 50-54 age group, Specht won all the butterfly events: 50, 100 and 200 yards. He broke a national record in the 100-yard backstroke in 56.85, but he finished in second place by one-tenth of a second. He was also second in the 50-yard backstroke.
David O'Meara, creator of www.onemilerunner.com, will be in Tarpon Springs on Saturday, kicking off a nationwide tour where he will visit 20 cities in 20 weeks, running a sub five-minute mile in each place. The run starts at 8 a.m. Go to O'Meara's Web site for an updated map and starting location.
The West Florida Y Runners Club held its annual scholarship banquet Monday and awarded $8,000 in college scholarships to the following Pinellas County student athletes: Christina Patterson and Joseph Cathey, Calvary Christian; Christian Homme, Michael Homme and Julio Silva, Seminole; and Thara Salam, Palm Harbor U.
At the Gunn Allen Financial May Classic in Tampa on Saturday at Hyde Park Village, Lee Stephens of Tampa won in 15:42. Hank Campbell of St. Petersburg finished second in the 5K with a time of 16:05.
On the women's side, Vicki Jetton of Dunedin came in second in 18:18, and Jennifer Sullivan of Safety Harbor was fourth in 19:10.
In the masters' ranks, Michael Coyne, a 57-year-old from Canada, was first in 17:27. For the women, Sullivan, 43 was the top finisher.
The day after winning the Hyde Park race, Stephens headed to Lutz to turn in a 17:30 time in the 16th annual Dare To Go Bare 5K Run. Stephens, 27 of Tampa, apparently runs faster with his clothes on.
Terry Tomalin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (727) 893-8808. Send your swimming, biking, running, triathlon and adventure racing information to community.tampabay.com and click on the "Submit info" link.