Junior triathlon has come a long way since I formed the BTA’s junior triathlon programme in the early 1990s.

When we took the very young Flora Duffy and Tyler Butterfield with a team of junior triathletes to Atlanta to compete in the US Ironbread National Triathlon Championships, we could never have envisaged the two of them would  emerge as world-class junior triathletes, both medalling at the Junior Elite 16-19 World Championships and both going on to be top professionals.

Their success is testament to the hard work of many committed coaches, notably Neil de ste Croix, Chris Harkness and Nigel Godfrey, who for many years continued the development of junior triathletes in the Tri Hedz programme. Add to that a full slate of well-run junior races, numerous junior triathletes competing abroad each year and British coach Steve Trew’s annual triathlon camp and it is no surprise that Bermuda has produced so many outstanding juniors.

The presence this week of US coach Matt Valyo and the competitive schedule that current juniors Tyler Smith, Erica Hawley and Alex Pilgrim are taking on this year is testament to their dedication. 

Smith, who finished third in the Bank of Bermuda triathlon, is already showing exceptional promise.

On March 1 he and Alex Pilgrim (on March 2) take on a strong field in Clermont Florida in US Junior Elite Development races and the following weekend Smith will be joined by Hawley for the prestigious Pan American Triathlon Confederation (PATCO) US National Championships in Sarasota, Florida. 

Hawley will then race on April 12 in the PATCO South American Championships in Ecuador. May 1 will be the big test for Smith and Hawley
as they compete in the Youth Olympic Games Qualifier in Monterrey, Mexico.