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USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment
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We're about to see the reemergence of Tony Smoragiewicz. Tony was the bronze medalist at Junior Worlds in Beijing in 2011 and won the PATCO (now CAMTRI) Junior Champs in 2013. He's racing the EDR in Clermont in 10 days, looking to earn his pro card back, he's announced a new wetsuit sponsor on social media....and, more to the point, he's finished with his run commitment at Michigan and ready to come back into triathlon full time.

I spoke with him on the phone mid way through his time in Ann Arbor and he explained it was his intention to swim & bike a bit while running at school. The coach was amenable too, but Tony found himself simply exhausted by the whole shebang: run + school + other workouts. He decided to only run while at Michigan and pick up triathlon when he was finished. This is pretty much the same path that Hunter Kemper chose when he walked-on and ran at Wake Forest. As it happens, Tony, like Hunter, is an extremely likable guy, polite, presents well, and is potentially another phenomenal representative for the US in Triathlon.

Here's what I'm waiting (and wanting) to see...can an athlete now, in today's level of triathlon, commit to single sport for 4 years then return to multisport and be great. I curious not only because of Tony but also because both of the 2016 Junior World Champions are for the USA and are now running full time for universities: Austin Hindman (Mizzou) and Tylor Knibb (Cornell).

I'm eager to hear the speculation from the ST readership.

Ian

Ian Murray
http://www.TriathlonTrainingSeries.com
I'm all about athletes mastering triathlon
Twitter - @TriCoachIan
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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Depends on expectations. If we are patient especially on men, then maybe. If we think they should be there in 18 months or else, no I don't see it on the men's side. I think the specifity is simply too extreme on the men with how the men push from the gun.

I think what we are seeing with women is that they are finally starting to slowly be aggressive in all aspects. They have to be to have a shot vs Gwen type of runner.

Now where I hope the NCAA pipeline improves is in area of D1 schools giving money so they don't have to go run or swim only. Who's going to join ASU at the big boy money table?

-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology
https://www.instagram.com/alloutmultisport
http://www.aomultisport.com
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [B_Doughtie] [ In reply to ]
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Brooks, you're so right. This thread wouldn't exist if there was a system of U23 triathlon in place that bridged the junior-senior elite gap.


Does it have to be D1 though? In fact, if we're looking at a resolution to help both our men and women would a more relaxed atmosphere like D2 or even 3 where a coach could run a men's and women's program concurrently. Also, and this is a bit of a tangent, 1/4 of the ASU team would not go on to race the Olympics for the USA (I'm assuming); Ahrens (GER) and Wagner (CAN).

Ian
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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You left out the most important part of the equation if you want a fair answer, how fast did he/does he swim? What is his 500SCY time, what can he repeat lets say 20x100's on the 1;20 at?

To me this is the biggest hurdle he will have/or not, if he has to learn how to swim after 4 years or he just has to get back in shape in the pool.
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [monty] [ In reply to ]
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Monty, sure, there's not much of a discussion around "can he hold a wheel on the bike after 4 years of running" the question is can get get his swim back or is a 4 year break a bridge too far? That's what we'll have to wait and see.

Ian
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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Does it have to be D1 though?

__________

Look at the 2016 JE Nationals top 10-


These 4 athletes I know are college freshman:


NCAA Tri:
-Bonney, Queens Uni


D1/D2 Running:
-Knibb, Cornell
-Spearing, Cornell
-Dellarova, Col Mines


One girl from Iowa Naughton, I don't know if she is in college (race age was 18), or not.

I'll let you come up with your own theory as to why this is the case.





-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology
https://www.instagram.com/alloutmultisport
http://www.aomultisport.com
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [B_Doughtie] [ In reply to ]
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Brooks, here's my theory...I'm eager to hear yours.

The financial benefit to the athlete (athlete's family as the case may be) is better to go D1 and since we (triathlon) only have two D1 programs right now (ASU and East Tennessee State). That suggests an athlete would have more options for trading an education for athletics via single sport rather than triathlon.

Jocelyn at Queens is a problematic example for several reasons but yeah, I get that.

Ian
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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I think you're underestimating how hard the bike is for the guys. He can build that but it's hard. It took Gwen a few years in the women's race to start biking well and that's a much less difficult bike ride compared to the guys.

-----------------------------------------------------------
De Soto Sport Athlete
Formerly Draketriathlon
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [Grant.Reuter] [ In reply to ]
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"I think you're underestimating how hard the bike is for the guys"

No, I'm not underestimating the bike. I know all about both the skill and power output required at top level DL racing. I'm appropriately emphasizing the real issue for a former top level junior who takes 4 years out of the water to dedicate themselves to running.


And that's what I'm so eager to see. Hunter and others have done it. What I'm eager to see is - can we still get away with that. Or, maybe...with top run times being what they are...wouldn't it be refreshing to discover that a 4 year run commitment is what's needed to be competitive? That'd be an interesting outcome.


Ian
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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But how fast of a swimmer is he now? You know as well as I do that getting back to a time is umpteen times easier than trying to achieve it in the first place. Is he a 5 minute 500SCY guy or thereabouts?
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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My theory? When you are limited in what you can offer academically, it's going to be a tough sell to these athletes and more importantly to the mom and dad's of these athletes who are all very smart people. We are talking about very smart and gifted people in the classroom as well as in the sport.

-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology
https://www.instagram.com/alloutmultisport
http://www.aomultisport.com
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [monty] [ In reply to ]
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"But how fast of a swimmer is he now?"

I don't know. We can get a glimpse of what kind of swimmer he was then...
  • PATCO Championship he won in 2013. The fastest swim on that day was 10:14 and Tony was out in 10:43 (30th in a field of 63).
  • 2012 he got 2nd at the Jr Cup in Tiszy and there the fastest time of the day was 5:49 and Tony was out in 6:39 - Huffman was 6:21.
  • Perhaps the most telling is Beijing 2011 - Tony swam a 10:04, Kanute 9:15, Sullwald 9:28, Verzbicas 9:24.

Ian
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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Ok got ya. He is at best a 2nd pack swimmer, more likely in a top level race with 70 guys, 3rd pack. He is going to have his work cut out for him then at the end of 4 years of running, probably at the very least 2 years of a very strong swim focus in order to even be able to attempt lead pack swimming. Wont matter what his run is, it will be blown 16 minutes into the race as he will always be a chaser. He obviously can swim well, but he has to make that jump in technique, not just a fitness thing like for instance in Lance's case..
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [monty] [ In reply to ]
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monty wrote:
You left out the most important part of the equation if you want a fair answer, how fast did he/does he swim? What is his 500SCY time, what can he repeat lets say 20x100's on the 1;20 at?

To me this is the biggest hurdle he will have/or not, if he has to learn how to swim after 4 years or he just has to get back in shape in the pool.

What are front pack swimmers able to do for a set like 20x100? I doubt he'll be in the front pack this year. But as mentioned earlier, maybe in a couple years.
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [Mountain Man] [ In reply to ]
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What are front pack swimmers able to do for a set like 20x100?

I would say at about a minute at a minimum or so for SCY on the 1;20 base. Could go +/- depending on how well one is in OW, that could be worth several seconds either way..
Last edited by: monty: Feb 23, 17 19:17
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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ianpeace wrote:
We're about to see the reemergence of Tony Smoragiewicz. Tony was the bronze medalist at Junior Worlds in Beijing in 2011 and won the PATCO (now CAMTRI) Junior Champs in 2013. He's racing the EDR in Clermont in 10 days, looking to earn his pro card back, he's announced a new wetsuit sponsor on social media....and, more to the point, he's finished with his run commitment at Michigan and ready to come back into triathlon full time.

I spoke with him on the phone mid way through his time in Ann Arbor and he explained it was his intention to swim & bike a bit while running at school. The coach was amenable too, but Tony found himself simply exhausted by the whole shebang: run + school + other workouts. He decided to only run while at Michigan and pick up triathlon when he was finished. This is pretty much the same path that Hunter Kemper chose when he walked-on and ran at Wake Forest. As it happens, Tony, like Hunter, is an extremely likable guy, polite, presents well, and is potentially another phenomenal representative for the US in Triathlon.

Here's what I'm waiting (and wanting) to see...can an athlete now, in today's level of triathlon, commit to single sport for 4 years then return to multisport and be great. I curious not only because of Tony but also because both of the 2016 Junior World Champions are for the USA and are now running full time for universities: Austin Hindman (Mizzou) and Tylor Knibb (Cornell).

I'm eager to hear the speculation from the ST readership.Ian



Nope, doubt it. Unless he has kept a little bit of swim bike going he would need a phenominal run to be anywhere near the guys of today. remember in many of the WTS races now the top 5 are all running sub 30 off the bike.
This to me doesn't look promising "Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.) won his first Aquathlon Nationals title in 52:00, due in part to his 31:55 10k run split."
if that is his run split for 10k after only a 1500 swim he isn't going to be up there with the big boys.

1500m3:48.63Tempe (USA)26.03.2016
3000m8:06.64Durham (USA)02.04.2016
3000m ind.8:02.62Nashville (USA)15.01.2016
5000m13:55.19Eugene (USA)10.06.2016
10,000m29:50.98Charlottesville (USA)18.04.2015
5 km Road14:49San José (USA) 24.11.2016

Maybe I am a bit harsh but these are his pb's at 22. there are others already racing who would be faster over 10k who are full time training triathletes.
Last edited by: chrisb12: Feb 23, 17 19:20
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [chrisb12] [ In reply to ]
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I agree with you Chris, if those are truly his PB times, he would have a hard time just keeping up with the top 10 runners in ITU if he sat out the swim and bike and just started the run with the boys. He is going to have to improve his running along with the other two sports to be top 10 in the big races. It will be a several year plan it looks to me, but it appears he may have the raw materials for the job. Just need to see if he has "IT""..
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [monty] [ In reply to ]
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those times were off the all athletics.com website. It is an international data base for IAAF sanctioned events. I am just checking on few other young guns who also race triathlon that I can find on the site, just for comparison.

Gordon Benson 1994 same year of birth. look at the dates of his races.. was about 17 for most. must then gone full time triathlon
800m1:58.21Stretford (GBR)22.07.2012
1500m3:54.93Stretford (GBR)01.06.2010
3000m8:21.27Stretford (GBR)01.05.2011
5000m14:28.52Stretford (GBR)17.08.2013
5 km Road14:23Armagh (GBR)22.02.2015
10 km Road30:27Leeds (GBR) 17.11.2013

Jacob Birtwhistle, born 1995, most these would been done about age 17, 10k is a bit later so maybe 19
800m1:53.40Hobart (AUS)03.11.2012
1500m3:51.19Sydney (AUS)18.03.2012
3000m8:09.12Melbourne (AUS)08.12.2012
5000m14:19.52Melbourne (AUS)22.11.2012
2000mSC6:13.96Melbourne (AUS)04.12.2010
10 km Road29:23Sydney (AUS) 02.05.2015

Dorian Coninx, born 1994 these were done at same age as Smoragiewicz pb's, 22
10 km Road29:11Cannes (FRA)21.02.2016
20 km Road1:05:38Cassis (FRA) 25.10.2015
Last edited by: chrisb12: Feb 23, 17 19:56
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the heads up, Ian..

Aren't we already seeing this scenario unfold with Matt McElroy..
I would say the early indications are pretty good...

And from what it looks like, TS may be starting from a better swimming foundation than Matt.

I wish both of these athletes all the luck in the world...it's exciting to have some young guns in the pipline


"Good genes are not a requirement, just the obsession to beat ones brains out daily"...the Griz
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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i don't think comparing what Kemper did 20+ years ago is as relevant as you imply because the quality of the fields is MUCH stronger and deeper than they were in the 1990s. until the Bs showed up, nobody drilled the entire race from the starting gun to the finish line like they usually do (especially in the big races, like rio). as people have noted above, his first barrier is going to be improving his swim so he is a 2nd pack swimmer (with mola and murray). then he is going to have to develop his legs so he can run off a hard bike (murray can do that much better than mola can). then he is going to have to improve his run because, as noted above, his times from running full-time are slower than the top tier of guys who don't only focus on the run. it's a tough hill to climb but he has 3 years to try and make it work.
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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For ITU racing? I say absolutely not. I think someone with a strong enough background in swimming can still get away with that for 70.3 and Ironman racing for now. But I do wonder how long that will last. If Mixed Relay - and pro-team mixed relay - takes off, as well as something like Super League, that will likely increase the time that long course is a bastion for folks who did something other than focus on triathlon from an early age, but if the current king and queen of Kona are any indication, it's unlikely that we'll see another Kona world champ who took that path.

Triathlon is one sport, not three.


"Non est ad astra mollis e terris via." - Seneca | rappstar.com | FB - Rappstar Racing | IG - @jordanrapp | Game Designer @ Zwift

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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [mag900] [ In reply to ]
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mag900 wrote:
i don't think comparing what Kemper did 20+ years ago is as relevant as you imply because the quality of the fields is MUCH stronger and deeper than they were in the 1990s. until the Bs showed up, nobody drilled the entire race from the starting gun to the finish line like they usually do (especially in the big races, like rio). as people have noted above, his first barrier is going to be improving his swim so he is a 2nd pack swimmer (with mola and murray). then he is going to have to develop his legs so he can run off a hard bike (murray can do that much better than mola can). then he is going to have to improve his run because, as noted above, his times from running full-time are slower than the top tier of guys who don't only focus on the run. it's a tough hill to climb but he has 3 years to try and make it work.

Did you even finish reading the OP?

"Here's what I'm waiting (and wanting) to see...can an athlete now, in today's level of triathlon, commit to single sport for 4 years then return to multisport and be great."


"Good genes are not a requirement, just the obsession to beat ones brains out daily"...the Griz
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [mag900] [ In reply to ]
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Yeah Mag, I don't know what it is....is it short attention span where we don't read things completely or is it this idea of "I'm anonymous on a form, I must be contrarian" or what.....but your point is my point. Hunter was able to do it 20 years ago, I worry it's not possible to do it now - "it" being go 4 years as a single sporter and return to tri and be dominant (or even participant).

And it's not just about Tony starting back in 10 days it's about other top juniors who go and commit to college for 4 years as a runner because $30k in debt is daunting and why not come out of college with a clean financial slate and hope they can get back up to speed on...as Rapp points out, the sport of triathlon...rather than pay for school and try and keep on as an elite triathlete during that time.

Some women will get a scholarshiped triathlon experience and I suspect it'll help our US women stay thick at the top but our men have a much harder row to hoe.

Ian
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [monty] [ In reply to ]
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Not to mention there are heaps of kids joining that are faster on day 1. We have a kid who will be youth elite this year 14 turning 15. 16:35 1500, strong runner

___________________________________________
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Canadian Record Holder 35-39M & 40-44M - 200 m Butterfly (LCM)
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Re: USA ITU Long Term Look - what comes of a 4 years running commitment [ianpeace] [ In reply to ]
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I think the problem would be focusing on one sport and still not getting to top
-10 level. If the above time is accurate, Tony's college PB is around 1:30 slower than McElroy's.

Obviously there could be tons of factors at play - injury, dedicated student, whatever. My understanding is that Gwen's run times now are faster than her Wisconsin times.

Knibb seems different to me as she already has a killer bike and seems to swim well. If she can come out a super runner, that is great.

Obviously pure runners don't always translate to tri, but it seems like you need to be at least under 29 as a D1 runner to have a chance at being a contender...and the more swim and bike experience, the better.

Aaron Bales
Lansing Triathlon Team
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