HP Development Squad Get to Work

HP Dev Squad Aguilas 2017 Pic 2

Preparation Starts in Spain for HP Development Squad

With 2017 just a few weeks old, Triathlon Ireland's High Performance Development Squad have started the hard work of preparing for the coming season.

Under the direction of HP coaches Lynne Algar and Stephen Delaney, eight members of the squad, along with a number of specially invited athletes, have been training in the Spanish town of Aguillas - a regular location for Triathlon Ireland's high performance camps.

The Development Squad is the foundation tier of Triathlon Ireland's National Performance Squad - the country's top triathletes, which at its top tier includes Olympians Aileen Reid and Bryan Keane, as well as World class athletes Russell White and Ben Shaw.

HP Dev Squad Aguilas 2017 Pic 1

Turning up the Volume

According to Lynne Algar, the Aguilas training camp has focused on putting the fundamentals in place ahead of what will be a long and gruelling race season.

"It’s a lot about volume and we’ve spent a lot of the past week and a half working on open water swimming technique and transferring swim abilities from the pool in to the sea. We had (elite open water swimmer) Chris Bryan out here with us which has been really valuable for the squad. Apart from the swimming, we've really focused on a lot of bike volume, a lot of aerobic work," Lynne said.

Among those in attendance at the camp were Super Series overall champions Darren Dunne and Carolyn Hayes, as well as Con Doherty, who is heading in to this second year racing the senior ITU circuit.

Full race programmes have yet to be announced but Lynne did reveal that Con Doherty can be expected to race in Cagliari again in 2017, an event that saw him claim a promising 20th place last year, while Darren Dunne and Kieran Jackson will aim to line out in Holten for the European Championships in July.

As with 2016, the Triathlon Ireland Super Series will serve as a proving ground for most of the development squad to help them make the jump up to draft legal international racing.

HP Dev Squad Aguilas 2017 Pic 3

Emerging Talent Programme

Many of the members of the Development Squad have come through Triathlon Ireland's Emerging Talent Programme - a pathway designed to ensure that promising young athletes get the support they need to progress their abilities.

Lynne Algar says the Emerging Talent programme looks at the athlete's developmental needs over the course of a number of years: 

"The idea is to educate them and teach them how to train for triathlon. We introduce the teenager to new approaches such as constant monitoring of training performance so that you're not just getting a snap shot of you are on a particular day, that means you won't risk loosing an athlete if they are having a bad day on the when they're being tested. If they have exams on for instance, they can work around that and not have to be performing to their maximum all the time."

ODON Logo 2017

For the second year running O'Driscoll O'Neil is supporting TI's Emerging Talent Programme - support that is vital in creating the next generation of elite level triathletes. 

Exposure and Advice

Lynne Algar says one of the key benefits of the Emerging Talent Programme for athletes is that they can get the right advice and be exposed to top level domestic training and racing gradually: "The kids on the Emerging Talent Programme are invited to around four training days throughout the year. We try to ensure that each of the athletes is well resourced so we get in touch with the local run or swim coach and explain to them what they will be doing, we don’t expect any exceptions but we like to see that they are the basic resources in place to help them progress."

"Athletes of the right ability get invited to train in the Limerick or Dublin hubs, I call it intermittent immersion so rather than being thrown in at the deep end they get a little experience so if they decide to go to UL or Dublin they know what training will be like. It gives them a heads up and gives them exposure."

Read more about ODON's support of the programme here.