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Iron Kids
Published Monday, August 17, 2009 10:27 AM
By Paul Zoeller
Summerville Journal Scene
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It was a very exhausting day. All that running, biking and swimming really wore me out; I can only imagine how the kids felt actually running, biking and swimming while I watched.

Early Saturday morning, kids lined the edge of the pool at The Ponds Farmhouse waiting for the 2009 Summerville YMCA Youth Triathlon to start. The horn sounded and the first kid jumped in and started swimming his laps. Every ten seconds after that for about an hour, contestants were jumping into a pool and swimming laps before climbing on a bike and finally running for the finish line.

Louis Easterday, 11, and 196 other kids took part in the 2009 Summerville YMCA Youth Triathlon at the Ponds.

The day started early as competitors and their parents arrived before 7 a.m. to set up bikes and clothing in a transition area. Each child received an ankle bracelet to track their time and a number that was written on their arms and legs to help identify them.

Nicole Estep writes Brianna Kopinski's, 8, number and age on her arms and legs before the start of the race.

After all the competitors checked in and were ready, everyone headed for the pool for the start of the race. A sea of green and orange swim caps surrounded the pool as kids ages 7-14 listened to instructions. The younger age groups would swim two laps, bike 2.5 miles and run another half mile while the kids 11 and over would swim four laps, bike five miles and run one mile.

Ashton Tanner, 11, waits for the race to begin.

Soon the horn sounded and the first splash of a swimmer was drowned out by the cheers of the parents watching. The older, faster group hit the pool first swimming back and forth. Every ten seconds the horn went off and another swimmer hit the water.

Jack Bruffey, 8, jumps in the pool to start the race. Participants entered the pool every ten seconds at the sound of a horn.

Soon the pool was filled with yellow caps as swimmers jumped from lane to lane. Some obviously were on swim teams as they made perfect turns under water between each lap. Others paddled along at a slower pace and some stopped at intervals to rest before taking off down the lane again.

Participants at the back of the line laugh and have fun while waiting for their turn.

As the older kids hit the water, the younger ones watched from the side. Like a little league outfielder picking flowers, many paid little attention to the pool. Some played and laughed while others dazed off into the distance, probably tired from waking so early.

Racers swim their laps before jumping on bikes and finishing the race on foot.

Outside of the pool, parents and siblings cheered as each swimmer jumped into the pool. Some held signs, while others took pictures and encouraged their little swimmers.

Anna Leigh Avant, 6, cheers on her brother James.

In the transition area, bikes sat next to towels and shoes waiting for the next leg of the race. Some brought fancy road race bikes while most brought their BMX bikes. Many of the girls' bikes came race ready with baskets and tassels.

Kids ran to their stuff and dressed before putting on their helmets and pushing the bikes to the starting line of the bike path.

Maxwell Sparrow, 8, dries off in the staging area after the swimming portion of the triathlon.

While many kids still lined the pool waiting to start, others were dropping off their bikes and heading for the running path. Many had completed the race by the time the last boy jumped into the pool.

The transition area turned into a busy intersection of kids picking up bikes and dropping off bikes as they completed each leg of the race. Race coordinators helped direct the kids in the right direction and even tie a shoe or two for those who didn't know how.

Ethan Inman, 4, helps his mother, Kim, hand out water to runners as they pass.

By the middle of the race swimmers, bikers and runners were in every direction.

It was fun to watch as kids of all ages and levels moved through the course. If they were worried about winning, no one showed it as they competed at their own pace.

Medals are handed out to every participant at the end of the race.

As each child passed the finish line, a medal was placed around his or her neck to signify their accomplishment in finishing the race.

Eric Brown, 9, is congratulated by his sister Kaitlin after finishing the race.

Parents waited at the finish line giving high fives and congratulating their children as they finished the race. The line for the swimming pool soon became the line for the shaved ice after the race as each contestant got a free treat. Later those same contestants would be flashing blue and red colored smiles as they received awards for the best times.

The triathlon was a well-organized event which will continue to grow each year as more want to compete. For more photos by other Journal Scene photographers visit the SeenIt page.

Paul Zoeller is a freelance photographer new to the area. Do you have an idea for a new blog or a question about a current blog? If you do contact Zoeller at

Comments (12)

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Love it!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 8:00 PM

Wow- what a great event. Congratulations to all who organized, worked and participated in this wonderful event. Really, really wonderful!

Posted by: Joanne
Our Town is Awesome!!!
Tuesday, September 01, 2009 11:00 AM

Congratulations to the organizers, the volunteers, and especially the athletes!!! Great pictures, too!

Posted by:
Can't Wait Till The Second Annual Kids Triathlon 2010
Thursday, August 27, 2009 5:31 PM

The event was a success! Thank you to everyone who was a part of making this event possible! Your hard work and dedication is appreciated and has not gone unnoticed!

Posted by: Anita H. Jackson
Fun fun fun....
Monday, August 24, 2009 2:18 PM

What a fun and terricfic way to keep kids active and make parents proud...

Posted by: Teuschler
Friday, August 21, 2009 2:59 PM

This event was a wonderful way to bring families in the community together and create something fun just for kids. Thanks YMCA.

Posted by:
Kid Tri Pics
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 7:56 PM

These are great! My children and I loved looking at them and remembering the day. Thank you! De Ann Avant

Posted by:
kids tri...
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 3:35 PM

Awesome event! Thanks to my husband hal and all of the y staff and volunteers for a great event. Thanks to the ponds for hosting.

Posted by: kim hatchett
Great Opportunity for our children
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 11:39 AM

This was an amazing event for our children. It was amazing how organized the event was, great job YMCA!

Posted by: Beth Tanner
Monday, August 17, 2009 11:22 PM

More terrific photos. Thanks to Dr Hal Hatchett, a local podiatrist, for creating this event!

Posted by:
Awesome Job!!
Monday, August 17, 2009 5:09 PM

Paul, great job on pictures. They capture a lot of emotion--and we all know, they ran high that day.

Posted by: Therese
Well done!
Monday, August 17, 2009 4:50 PM

Awesome Job Paul, great story and great photos. Looks like it was fun.

Posted by: Christopher Herrick
Monday, August 17, 2009 4:07 PM

Wonderful event! Thank you to the Summerville Family YMCA for putting on this great family event.

Posted by:

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