The regional academy programme is the first stage of the British Triathlon World Class Performance Pathway. Whilst the final stages, the Olympic Podium and Olympic Academy squads, are GB-wide the first two stages - the Regional Academies and Home Nations Talent Squads - are under the remit of England, Scotland and Wales.
The Regional Academies are for Youth and Junior athletes, and are exclusively focussed on Olympic format triathlon - i.e. Draft-legal racing up to Olympic distance. Non-drafting triathlon is not an Olympic sport and consequently does not receive any governmental support. Tristar3 athletes may apply for selection during the September of their final TS3 season.
Selection Trials 2023/2024
The trials will be on Saturday 23rd September and Saturday 7th October at New Hall School. Trialists need attend one date only. The format of each will be the same.
Selection for the Regional Academy is by application with the criteria including triathlon experience, training history, home training environment and trials performances.
The schedule for the trials day is as follows;
Swim Trial (25m indoor pool)
Gap of approximately 1 hour
Run Trial (400m athletics track)
Applications should be made via the central British Triathlon system
A consideration for those applying is the amount of travelling time and expense that being in the Academy entails. In order to benefit from academy membership regular attendance at sessions (approximately monthly) is essential along with attendance at the British Triathlon Super Series races.
The nature of draft-legal triathlon, and the remit of the World Class Programme (to deliver Olympic medals) determine the type of young performer that the programme seeks to recruit into its academies, and therefore the selection process and standards.
To compete effectively in draft-legal triathlon, competitors must be able to swim well enough not to get left behind. As the best competitors are excellent swimmers everyone must be an excellent swimmer. To be successful in draft-legal triathlon competitors must be able to run well enough to beat the opposition head-to-head. As the best competitors are excellent runners anyone who hopes to be successful must also be an excellent runner.
At the top level the men swim approximately 17 minutes for 1500m in open water. That equates to about 4:15 for 400m in the pool. The top women are about a minute slower.
The top men then run approximately 30 minutes for 10km. The women approximately 33 minutes.
The very best juniors and youths are capable of similar speeds over shorter distances. Without the basic speed even the most amazing fitness is of little use.
Accordingly, selection for World Class Programmes includes speed trials for swimming and running.
The minimum standard for consideration for Regional Academies is a score of 320 on the British Triathlon points table. That's an age and gender dependent aggregate of swim and run time. As an indication the following combinations of times score 320.
- 14yr old Boy: 200 swim time 2:25 with 1500m run time of 4:45.
14yr old Girl: 200m swim time 2:30 with 1500m run time of 5:22.
- 17yr old Boy: 400m swim time 4:50 with 3000m run time of 9:40
17yr old Girl: 400m swim time of 5:08 with 3000m run time of 10:55
If you are 15 or younger on 1st September you'll trial over 200m (swim) and 1500m (run), otherwise you will trial over 400m and 3000m.
(Please note that the points table was revised in 2016 to reflect the current state of international racing at junior, U23 and senior level.)
You can see how your best times score using our points calculator.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, there is much, much more to triathlon than basic swim and run speed. The Programme is interested in athletes who have the potential to become senior triathletes in the future: this entails a significant commitment to training for, and competing at, triathlon over a substantial period of time. Triathletes, unlike swimmers, do not reach competitive maturity until at least their mid-twenties.
As you might have noticed, cycling does not feature in these early trials. Why's that? Swimming and, to a slightly lesser degree, running are early development, sports. They require a large amount of time (thousands of hours) to master and as a consequence are very difficult to master as an adult, because there is not time. Swimmers win Olympic medals in their teens. Runners mature later (there are few teenage Olympians) but the movement patterns for running fast have to be developed young. With age come power and endurance. Cycling, on the other hand, is a late development sport. It requires excellent cardiovascular fitness but is technically relatively simple. Many of the world’s best cyclists converted to cycling having developed their cardiovascular capacity in other sports.
However, becoming a cyclist is an essential part of becoming a triathlete, and though it is possible to make up the ground on those who cycled from a young age, it requires serious commitment, a lot of hard work and cannot be done in isolation.
In order to join the Academy you will have to demonstrate that your home training environment and commitment will enable you to make good progress.
- you must be able to train regularly with a swimming club or squad (at least four times a week)
- you must be able to cycle regularly (weekly) with cyclists (e.g. a cycling or triathlon club)
- you must be able to run weekly in a good quality running environment
- you must be able to commit to triathlon racing and academy training sessions
- you must commit to keeping a training diary
- you must be able to prioritise triathlon over the individual sports
Over time, you will have to commit to following a triathlon based training structure.
As a member of the Regional Academy you will be invited to training sessions through the year. These are predominantly at weekends, with a regular programme of mid week evening bike rides during the summer. The most significant benefits, however, are the opportunities to learn from people that you meet at those sessions. You'll be training with some of the best young triathletes in the country under the guidance of Regional Head Coach Tim Williams, who has been guiding triathletes and cyclists to domestic, international and Olympic success for many, many years.
- To find out more about how Academies work please read our Academy Handbook here.
- To find out more about how selection works and for our points calculator please look here.