Cool Kid Stuff...


By Colleen Prudhomme

For most, it was the year of COVID, but for me, 2020 was the beginning of a fabulous, new adventure! I had been thinking of putting together a triathlon program for kids but wasn’t sure how to get things started. In early 2020, I spoke to my master’s swim coach (who also trained me for my first Ironman), Cheryl Zitur, about my idea and learned that she already was one of the coaches for a kids’ tri club in Maple Grove called Forte Tri Club for kids. They were an official USA Triathlon club and were looking for someone to start up a new location. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get something started while learning from the experience of the Forte coaching group. By the first week of summer break, 15 kids had registered for the Rockford, MN location of Forte Tri Club....

This first summer I both literally and figuratively got my feet wet as a kids’ triathlon coach, learning how to effectively teach kids from ages 8-13 how to swim, bike, and run and how to transition between those three disciplines. Each day, young triathletes set up their bikes and tri gear in a transition area as if they were about to begin a triathlon. We played a lot of games, including a kids’ favorite called the transition relay race, did all our swimming in the lake, and biked and ran on paved paths throughout the park. We held an in-club 5K midway through the summer and finished off the season by having the Maple Grove and Rockford cubs do a triathlon together.


Admittedly, it helped that many other youth sports programs had been canceled due to COVID, while we could safely offer a completely different and super fun experience for young athletes in the great outdoors! The Rockford location has access to one of the most amazing hidden gems, and that is Lake Rebecca. With open, grassy areas for warmups and games, a lake with a roped off swim area, and tree lined paved paths, Lake Rebecca offers the perfect home spot for kids triathlon.

Since that first year, Forte Tri Club decided to disband, allowing us the opportunity to establish our own club which became Total Strength Kids Tri Club in 2023. Gear West generously offered to be a club sponsor, which helps to cover some of the cost of our tri kits. In addition to this, Gear West comes out to visit our club to share with us their experience and knowledge about triathlon. The kids love hearing the stories of staff members who have competed in triathlons, seeing their fancy tri bikes, and learning how to take care of their own bike.

In 2023, TS Kids Tri Club had 3 coaches and 25 participants. We have kept the tradition of a mid-season 5K, but instead of an inner club triathlon at the end of the season, we encourage our triathletes to participate in an actual triathlon (either super sprint or sprint). In 2023, TS Kids Tri Club members competed in the Tri West Triathlon at Lake Rebecca, the Green Lake Triathlon in Spicer and the Hopkins Royal Triathlon. This summer, coaches Josh Sell, Gavin Dunne, and Colleen Prudhomme will be working with both casual and serious competitors (Increasing the club age range to 8 to 16) in the Total Strength Kids Tri Club to help them discover what they can achieve when they tri!

To learn more about Total Strength Kids Tri Club, visit our website at https://www.totalstrengthfitness.com/event/total-strength-kids-tri-club/.