Seymour hosts sixth annual youth triathlon


Competing in the 11- to 14-year-old boys division of Saturday’s Boys & Girls Club of Seymour Youth Triathlon, Grant Smith said he wasn’t expecting to come in first place.

“I didn’t think I would do very good. I was cramping during the running section,” Smith said. “I just got off vacation a week ago, so I didn’t have enough time to get ready.”

Despite the challenges, Smith came through in the end, climbing from his previous two years when he earned third and then second place in his division.

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Samantha Jacobi, the 11- to 14-year old girls division winner, also was surprised by her win.

“It hurt, and I’m tired,” she said. “I just got back at 4 a.m. this morning from a two-week vacation.”

The ability to push through fatigue and sometimes pain is what triathlon organizer Kendra Zumhingst said she loves to see in the races.

“These kids have the hearts of racers,” Zumhingst said. “I always get tears in my eyes, even if I say I’m not going to. You can see they are just so excited to accomplish finishing this.”

Racers were divided into two categories — 6- to 10-year-olds and 11- to 14-year-olds.

Ages 6 to 10 where required to swim 100 yards, bike 2 miles and run a half-mile, while ages 11 to 14 swam 200 yards, biked 4 miles and ran 1 mile.

The event started and ended at Seymour High School.

The day began with swimming in the pool. Competitors then rode around nearby neighborhoods on their bikes before returning for the running leg of the race, finishing in front of Bulleit Stadium.

While some of the competitors have moved above the 14-year-old age range, Zumhingst said she was pleasantly surprised with the increase in runners in the younger age range and hopes the race sees a continued increase in runners for the next few years.

This year saw 33 in the younger age group and nine in the older one.

One of the first-time runners was Bailey Swallows of Chandler, Arizona, who competed in the event with her brother, Tanner Swallows, while they were in town visiting their grandparents, Mark and Shirley Darlage.

“I thought I did good,” said Bailey, noting she enjoyed the swimming part the best.

Tanner has competed in the triathlon several times and came back again this time to compete in the 11- to 14-year-old group.

Another pair of participants took the plunge together.

“This is my first year. I’m trying it because my friend, Townsend, talked me into it,” Julia Hartung said of her friend, Townsend Chambers.

Zumhingst said one of the other things she appreciates about the triathlon is that it is open to all ability levels.

Special adaptations were made for swimmers too young to swim by themselves, allowing them to swim with flotation devices or life jackets, while those who were unsure or unable to ride a bike were allowed to use of training wheels. Helmets were required for all participants during the biking portion.

The organizers hosted two practice sessions on the Tuesday and Thursday prior to the triathlon to allow everyone to get a chance to prepare for the race.

Participants received a T-shirt, a medal and a snack at the finish line. The top boy and girl runner in each division also received a plaque.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Seymour.

Zumhingst said the volunteers and involvement of both the community and local businesses help her pull off the event each year.

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“These kids have the hearts of racers. I always get tears in my eyes, even if I say I’m not going to. You can see they are just so excited to accomplish finishing this.”

Boys & Girls Club of Seymour Youth Triathlon organizer Kendra Zumhingst on the competitors


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