National governing body USA Triathlon has announced the initial athlete roster for Project Podium, a men’s elite development squad to be based at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The program, which begins operations this month, is designed to develop top young male triathletes in the United States to achieve medal performances in major international competition and, ultimately, the Olympic Games.
The program enables college-aged triathletes with significant competitive potential to train in a daily high-performance environment while earning an undergraduate degree at ASU. Athletes may receive scholarship funds and stipends from USA Triathlon based on competitive performance.
Project Podium is owned by USA Triathlon in partnership with ASU. Head Coach Parker Spencer will lead all day-to-day coaching operations as a full-time staff member of USA Triathlon, while Cliff English, Head Coach of the ASU NCAA Division I women’s triathlon team, will serve as Program Director.
“We are excited to launch Project Podium with a roster of ideal athletes we believe have the potential to meet the long-term goals we have set for the program,” Parker Spencer said. “I have really enjoyed getting to know each of them and their families through the recruitment process. I know we have not only great athletes on our team, but guys with great character and a strong work ethic that will create the team culture we will need to meet the goals we have set for 2024 and 2028.”
“I am very pleased with the exceptional quality of the team that Parker has recruited to launch the Project Podium program at ASU,” Cliff English said. “I believe we have some of the best American talent assembled here on this young team, and now the stage is set to develop them into world-class athletes leading up to 2024 and 2028.”
Erik Armes (Coronado, California) comes to Project Podium from Auburn University, where he was a member of the men’s cross-country and track teams.
Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Missouri) joins the squad as a transfer from the University of Missouri, where he competed for the men’s cross-country and track teams.
Chase McQueen (Columbus, Indiana) is transferring from the University of Arizona, where he ran cross-country and track for two years.
Nick Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa) comes to the Project Podium squad as a freshman. He is currently one of top athletes on USA Triathlon’s junior elite circuit.
Luis Ortiz (Orlando, Florida) is a freshman who will join Project Podium in October. He will represent the US at the ITU Junior World Championships, in Gold Coast, Australia.
Duncan Reid (Palos Verdes Estates, California) is a transfer from Oberlin College, where he competed on the men’s NCAA Division III cross-country and swim teams.
Project Podium athletes will have access to Sun Devil Athletics’ facilities, including the aquatic facility, weight room and outdoor track for regular training sessions. Sun Devil Athletics will provide the squad with sports medicine resources, strength and conditioning services and nutrition counselling. The university will also provide academic support services.
The target demographic for program recruits is male athletes under 25 years of age who possess significant competitive potential, are skilled and experienced in the sport of triathlon and are committed to the draft-legal Olympic-distance format of racing.