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USA Triathlon to offer first-ever paratriathlon coaching certification

Melissa Stockwell - USA Paratriathlete

USA Triathlon (USAT) will host its inaugural Paratriathlon Coaching Certification Clinic from 12-16 July at the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, California. The program, billed as the first of its kind both nationally and internationally, will ‘equip participants with the specific skills to coach paratriathletes of all classifications safely and effectively’.

Eight coaches from across the US, each of whom are current USA Triathlon Certified Coaches and have experience working with paratriathletes, are set to attend the clinic. The schedule includes two and a half days of classroom lectures followed by three days of athlete observation and interaction at a high-performance USA Paratriathlon National Team training camp.

The classroom sessions will be led by USA Triathlon Certified Coaches Christine Palmquist (Level III) and Wesley Johnson (Level II), both of whom served as coaches for the US Paralympic Triathlon Team in the debut of the sport at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Christine Palmquist is the head coach of the Chicago-based youth Multisport Madness Triathlon Team and has 18 years of experience bringing athletes to success at the regional, national and world levels. Wesley Johnson is the owner of BAM Fitness in Sandy, Utah, and the personal coach of 2016 US Paralympic gold medallist and 2017 ESPY Award nominee Grace Norman.

Palmquist and Johnson also co-authored the Paratriathlon Certification Manual to be used during the clinic. USA Paratriathlon National Team Head Coach Mark Sortino (Level III), based in Boise, Idaho, and Keri Serota (Level I), co-founder, Executive Director and Coach At Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club In Chicago, also contributed chapters to the manual.

Lectures at the Paratriathlon Coaching Certification Clinic will cover a variety of topics, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) rules and classification; swim, bike and run modifications; USA Paratriathlon programs and athlete pathways; periodization and planning; and nutrition and travel considerations.

The clinic is also supported by US Paralympics, a division of the US Olympic Committee, with dietitians Jacque Scaramella and Elizabeth Broad, sport psychologist Sara Mitchell, physiologist Sam Gardner and US Paralympics Managing Director Julie O’Neill Dussliere all playing key roles in the planning and execution of the program.

“With the help of some of the most effective paratriathlon coaches in the country, USA Triathlon has brought this certification clinic from concept to reality,” said Linda Cleveland, Coach Development Senior Manager at USA Triathlon. “We look forward to equipping more coaches with the specific drills, exercises and knowledge proven to bring out the best in paratriathletes of all levels.”

“The first-ever Paratriathlon Coaching Certification Clinic has the potential to change the game for our national team pipeline,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, Paratriathlon Program Senior Manager at USA Triathlon. “It will allow current coaches to learn skills and techniques to successfully coach paratriathletes, while at the same time making it easier for aspiring paratriathletes to find local coaches through the USA Triathlon ‘Find a Coach’ tool.”




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