It’s Time to Try a Tri

It’s Time to Try a Tri

by Susan Neuhalfen

If you’ve ever thought a triathlon might be in your future, believe it or not, this is the perfect time to start.

“The last triathlon races in the area are all done now until March,” said Lantana resident Claudia Weir, a USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach. “The race season is March through October, so this is a great time to start to train. You really need to stay in physical condition year round.”

Claudia was a collegiate swimmer who swam competitively from age 6 until 21. Her friend got her to compete in a sprint triathlon with her and she was hooked. Claudia even got her father on board and he started triathlons at the ripe young age of 60. He went on to compete in several IRONMAN races proving that age is not a factor when it comes to triathlons.

Claudia and her partner, Stefanie Lagomarsino, along with assistant coach Elliot Bach, are the coaches of the TriSharks Team, a Lantana-based triathlon training program for kids ages 6 and up. She started about six years ago by holding an intro to triathlons camp for kids ages 6-13 in Highland Village where they had 20 kids come and train.

“We learned so much after that first camp,” said Claudia. “Then the second camp came around and we had 40 kids and it just kept growing.”

The third year over 50 kids showed up and Fox Sports ran a story on the camp. She had to hire three other coaches and max the camp out at 60 kids as well as move their location to the Lewisville Natatorium in order to keep up with the demand.

Claudia, Stefanie, and Elliot are all certified coaches and competitive triathletes. Stefanie specializes in training juniors beginning at age 6. Elliot has helped Claudia coach the senior group for a year at a half and, at only 23 years old, the kids really look up to him.

The races for kids are considerably less than those of an adult. It varies by age, with kids 6-10 yrs: swimming 50-100 yds, biking 3 mi and running 1/2 mi. Ages 11-15 swim 200 yards, bike 6 mi and run 1 mi. Claudia finds that many kids who compete in triathlons, do so because team sports aren’t necessarily their thing. Parents have different motivations for signing their children up whether it be to learn to ride a bike property, run in the correct form or swim for more than one lap.

Claudia talked about one girl who was a runner but had no swimming experience. She started off solely running and through team practice, private coaching and numerous races over the course of 4 years she’s now on the podium at the adult level.

“We have other girls and boys who are uneasy on a bike,” said Claudia. “We help them develop confidence to compete which translates over to a lot of aspects of their lives.”

The TriSharks Program offers a variety of packages for kids to train depending on the intensity desired as well as the time constraints encountered. For more information visit their website at

As for adults, Claudia recommends visiting the USA Triathlon website to find certified triathlon coaches specific to your age group.

“I highly suggest getting a coach who has the knowledge to properly train a triathlete,” said Claudia. “I have my own coach to hold me accountable.”

Claudia suggests planning out 15 weeks in advance if you’re in relatively good shape to ensure you’re ready for your first event.

“It’s all about training smarter, not harder and not to overtrain,” she continued. “It’s important to get enough rest, proper nutrition and recovery time between races.”

It’s also important to see a doctor before you start any exercise regimen, especially one like a triathlon. Claudia took some time off and re-started the sport at a disadvantage with an auto-immune disorder. She says she is stronger now than when she started doing triathlons in 2002. Her father just retired from triathlons at the age of 82.

“So much of it is mental,” said Claudia. “Working toward personal goals is beneficial for everyone.”

One last advantage Claudia mentioned was the fact that triathlon is a worldwide sport. She and Stefanie plan family trips and vacations around competing and there’s no limit to how close or far a triathlon can take you.

“You could compete in a race just about every weekend locally or travel anywhere in the world,” said Claudia. “Triathletes are international people bound by a universal love for the sport.”

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