Jessica Laitner travelled to Chelmsford on 19th September to take part in the trials for the East Region and National Triathlon Academies. The trials are only open to triathletes at the upper age band of Tristar 3 and above and consist of a 1500m run and a 200m swim. As can be seen the academies do not worry about the competency on the bike as they believe that can be taught, whereas the other two disciplines rely on a lot of natural ability. They also believe in the philosophy that triathletes need to be at the front after the swim, can draft in a pack on the bike, even if they are not the strongest cyclist, and then emerge from the pack with a strong run – the Brownlee brothers being a prime example.
Jessica achieved both the times required and became the first Tri-Force Junior to be offered a place in the East Region Academy. What a fantastic achievement.
Between being offered a place and attending the first training session in October, Jessica had some major achievements in cross country and had a dramatic surge in her swim times. When she went along to the first training day, she found she was the youngest there, and had a sudden realisation that she was going to need to make triathlon her number one passion, at the expense of her current success in her two individual sports, in particular the amount of time she was going to need to dedicate for cycle training. After much deliberation, Jessica has decided not to take up the academy position this year and concentrate on her swimming and running but will look to re-apply to the academy at a later date.
Despite moving up to the Youth category next season, Jessica is really looking forward to competing in as many East Region League events, especially the aquathlons, with as many members of the Tri-Force Juniors who are willing to give it a go.