Jordan Walters dedicates her free time to volunteering at her local junior club to give something back to the club where she discovered her passion for triathlon.
A volunteer at Tri-Force Juniors, the 18-year-old’s dedication to swim, bike, run was recently recognised at the Triathlon England regional awards for the East region with Walters named the East’s Young Volunteer of the Year.
“I was very surprised when I found out I had been nominated, I just do it because I enjoy it and want to do it, I didn’t expect to be recognised,” Walters said. “There’s a lot of volunteers in the country and, even though it was for a regional award, thousands of people volunteer every single week and they put their time and effort in and to be nominated is a big sense of shock but also a sense of achievement and pride.
“Then to have actually won it was amazing and I think it was good for the club as well to be shown off in this way.”
Walters started at Tri-Force Juniors as an athlete, competing for the club from TriStar 1 up to Youth, alongside volunteering at the club since her early teens. After graduating as a junior athlete from the club, Walters now trains and competes with senior club, Decorum Triathlon Club, but still continues to volunteer at Tri-Force Juniors.
"At the moment, I’m the lifeguard at the club,” Walters added. “For the running, I will maybe lead the warm-up or prior to the session, I will speak to the Head Coach and organise the run session that we’re going to do. It usually includes doing the warm-ups or leading the actual main part of the session alongside the other coaches.
“When we have sessions at the velodrome, I will usually take the younger group and do the session on the track there for them including making up the sessions, making sure they’re all okay and checking their bikes. Also developing swim sessions with the other coaches and helping them out with that. It’s a mixture between the disciplines but just trying to help out as much as possible really.”
Walters volunteers every week at the club’s Saturday afternoon session as well as spending time working with the club’s coaches to develop session plans and training plans. Having been inspired by her own coaches, Walters is hoping she is able to have the same impact on the junior athletes she helps at the club.
“I really enjoy motivating other people and making them feel proud of what they’re doing,” Walters commented. “That’s something that I had when growing up from the coaches I had when I was younger, I want to share the same opportunity that I had for them. The coaches that I had were really supportive and motivating, they were always encouraging us to go further and better, go for this opportunity, and really inspiring us.
“I want to be able to do the same for the athletes at the club and make them feel like they also have the chance to do the same thing. I really enjoy the coaching side of it, I’m doing my Level 1 coaching course at the moment. Also being able to develop the coaching skills, it’s given me the chance to experience and get the experience of coaching for my Level 1 which is going to be really helpful.
“It’s such a rewarding sport and a rewarding environment to be in. There are so many people you’ll meet along the way and there’s always somewhere there to make you smile and laugh. It’s always so rewarding seeing the athletes you either coach or are helping when volunteering develop and become more confident in themselves and the sport. It makes me so happy to see them grow into their friendships and their love for the sport, it’s just an amazing place to be.”