When you start racing triathlon at the age where many kids are just learning to ride a bike, you certainly have a great head start. Addison Smith has been a fixture at races in East Tennessee for nearly a decade, and she's only 16! Over the past several years, she's climbed the ranks of USA Triathlon's Youth and Junior Elite programs and even finished third overall at USAT's Sprint National Championships in Omaha, NE last year (part of an all-Tennessean women's podium).
On top of her elite triathlon schedule, Addison competes for Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN in swimming and cross-country and hopes to be competing for a prestigious D1 swim program in a couple years.
We asked Addison about the challenges of being a year-round athlete at an academically-rigorous school, the triathlon camp she attended with Olympian's Gwen Jorgenson and Katie Zaferes, and her experiences racing with both the Health Shoppe and Z3 Triathlon teams.
Steve Kelley from USAT's Junior Elite and Under 23 programs joined us to talk about what they are doing to develop young talent in the sport, resources available for youth and junior triathletes and what age group athletes and clubs can do to encourage youth participation in the sport.