Triathlon is a challenging blend of three endurance sports - swimming, cycling and running. However, it is one single sport, not a collection of these three sports and as such; triathletes have very specific training needs. Triathletes do need swimming, cycling and running fitness and skills, but they also need the proper sequencing of training that gives them technique, endurance, strength, speed and recovery.
About the program
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Triathlon program is overseen by TA/AIS National Performance Director Michael Flynn and AIS Program Manager Shaun Stephens.
The AIS triathlon program has evolved from its initial inception in 2001 as a Junior Elite program; to an Elite program that caters for all ages of athletes focused on the draft legal ITU racing. Since 2004 its focus of supporting and targeting Australia’s elite triathletes competing in Olympic distance events at Olympic and Commonwealth Games, ITU World Championships and the ITU World Cup series.
The AIS triathlon program works in partnership with Triathlon Australia (TA) and is an integral component of TA’s national high performance plan. (For more information on the TA’s high performance pathways please see the Triathlon Australia website below.)
The AIS triathlon program is focused on assisting, developing and providing world leading cutting edge support to our best elite triathletes with a specific target outcome of winning medals at the ITU World Championship Series races culminating at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Operated as a decentralized program, triathletes train in their home environment with their home based coaches. The AIS provides support - added value - for both coaches and the triathlete to attend camps, clinics, and project focused activity; access to sport science and sports medicine services and to use the latest sports performance technology.
The principle aims of the AIS triathlon program are:
- To help Australian elite triathletes achieve medal success at the ITU World Championship series races and 2012 London Olympic Games;
- To help the athletes develop the physical, physiological and psychological basis to be able to handle the workload required to succeed at the highest elite level in Triathlon;
- To support and assist the coaches of AIS athletes;
- To examine specific needs of Triathlon in race situations and work to optimize training methods and race tactics;
- To provide the athletes with the support while living as a professional sportsperson in various locations and situations; and
- To develop the highest levels of professionalism in all aspects of the sport of Triathlon.
Competitions and Olympic history
Triathlon has been an Olympic sport since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Australia has won at least one medal at each of the games since triathlon’s inception. The results in Olympic Games have been dominated by Australian women culminating in winning both the Gold and Bronze medals in Beijing through Emma Snowsill and Emma Moffatt.
The International Triathlon Union changed the format in 2009 to running the ITU World Championship Series races in major cities all over the world culminating with the final. The winner of the series and the ultimate World Champion is declared by their 4 best results in addition to the final.
The 2012 season will have 8 key races in major cities culminating with the final in Auckland, NZ from 20th - 22nd October 2012.
AIS Triathlon program success
Under the guidance of the program’s inaugural head coach (2001-05), former world champion triathlete Jackie Fairweather (nee Gallagher) the program achieved remarkable success.
AIS scholarship holders competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Emma Moffatt winning a bronze medal in the women’s event and Emma Snowsill winning the Women’s Gold medal, a remarkable achievement from both women.
The program was awarded the 2005 AIS sport program of the year.
Emma Moffatt was a joint winner of the 2009 AIS Athlete of the Year Award following a very successful year.
Craig Walton was awarded the 2009 AIS Coach of the year having coached Emma Moffatt and Emma Snowsill.
Emma Moffatt has won the womens world title two years running, winning the 2009 and 2010 ITU World Championships.