My Experience with Triathlon Ireland Junior Academy
By Emily Madden
My last year in triathlon has been a complete roller coaster to be honest. This time last year I bought my first pair of proper running shoes and what I have achieved since then was only a dream.
I have been swimming with Sliabh Beagh for six years and I am now looking forward to my seventh. Swimming has always been a huge part of my life and I consider the friends I have made there as Family! The coaches in the club have been encouraging me and pushing me along from the outset. To come into triathlons with a swimming background rather than running has been a huge help to me.
Last September I began training with the local running club Monaghan Phoenix on the advice of my mum, uncle and one of my teachers at school. My goal for last year was to put more effort into my running in particular so that I could enhance my overall performance for the following triathlon season.
At the end of November I heard about a participation day for any young athletes who enjoyed the triathlon sport. I made it my goal to impress the coaches and show them how much work I put into my training because of my love for the sport. On the fourteenth of December I travelled to Dalkey with Dad and spent the day working hard in the three disciplines while making friends from Kells, Dublin and Belfast. I can remember coming home that evening shattered and falling asleep on the coach while the rest of the family decorated the Christmas tree!
In February I was invited back to join the Junior Academy for a training day to see if I was of a high enough standard to be accepted. The level of athletes on the Junior Academy is exceptional yet the athletes themselves are very modest and friendly. At the end of a gruelling day the head coach, Eamon Tilley, invited me into the office to give me the good news. I had made it!
As a member of the Academy I was assigned a coach. I have to update my coach weekly via Google Docs, keeping her aware of my training, diet, participation in and results of races. It is a two way process and she can give me advice or suggestions to alter my activities. We also have training days for the coaches to access our strengths and weaknesses. I have taken part in four of these days in Letterkenny, The Curragh and Limerick. As a member of the Junior squad we take part in at least four triathlon Ireland events during the year. I feel put have not raced to the best of my ability on these days as I get quite nervous but I have thoroughly enjoyed my year on the Junior Academy Squad and I will endeavour to stay on it next year. I am looking forward to returning to swim training with Sliabh Beagh as it is the main reason why I got into triathlons.
Emily had great success this year in triathlons both locally and away from home. She won the Howth Aquathon Series, was second female in Muckno Tri, first female junior in CavanKayakarun, Pink and Gold tri in Cootehill and the Ballybay Sprint Triathlon. Emily also looks forward to competing in Lough Key and Port Beach which are both Ti sanctioned races and part of the National series. Good luck Emily in the months ahead and keep up the hard work!