Tri-Knights – introducing triathlon into primary schools
16 May 2014
Castle Triathlon Series, organiser of the world’s largest junior triathlon, has developed a new school programme called Tri-Knights. It’s the first Key Stage 2 curriculum-linked triathlon resource for primary schools in the UK.
Tri-Knights resources include an introduction guide for teachers, free activity sheets for each discipline, curriculum links, a presentation for school assemblies, and school case studies. We’re delighted to see triathlon introduced into primary schools in such a comprehensive, structured way.
So we asked Brian Adcock, MD of Castle Triathlon Series, all about Tri-Knights, what it’s hoping to achieve, and whether the new initiative is being accepted by schools and teachers.
What do you hope that the new Tri-Knights National Curriculum initiative will achieve?
Brian: We hope that the Tri-Knights programme will provide a wider access to triathlon for all children and break down any barriers to schools introducing the sport; after all it is about swimming, cycling and running which most kids love! To marry sports that kids enjoy and the curriculum seemed to make total sense.
Why did you decide to create Tri-Knights now?
Brian: Last year we hosted the World’s largest children’s triathlon at Hever Castle and had to close entries for the junior races with such incredible demand. A number of schools took part and enthused about the experience saying they wish they had taken part before.
What kinds of schools and teachers do you think will take up Tri-Knights?
Brian: We have had hundreds of schools downloading the resources including state and independent primary schools.
Why do you think junior triathlon has grown so quickly in the last couple of years?
Brian: I think it has been a combination of factors; from London 2012, a subsequent increase in junior races on offer, higher media profile and triathlon evolving in to a mainstream sport. As it is quickly becoming the fastest growing sport in the world many kids are being influenced by their parents passions.
Do you think event entry costs and equipment costs are barriers to the sport growing further?
Brian: Hopefully not. Event organisers heavily discount early bird entry and children do have the option of taking part in a relay team, which reduces the costs. Up to a point there will be a barrier as bikes (and in our case wetsuits) are essential apparatus but with increasing access to second hand equipment this will hopefully cut costs and open up to a wider audience.
Is junior triathlon accessible to all communities?
Brian: This is a growing vision for the Castle Triathlon Series and one of the key reasons we have created Tri Knights. We would like to offer access to all, from para triathletes to Olympic elites, and a 7 year old to a 70 year old. As we see swimming forming part of the current national curriculum, triathlon could be a further element as we see through Tri Knights – it ticks a lot of boxes!
Have you had much support from the sport, the industry, or triathlon’s governing bodies?
Brian: Elites and sporting brands have hugely welcomed Tri Knights and our vision to grow junior access to triathlon.
Its a coup being the first to launch a curriculum triathlon resource and several professional associations have been in touch asking to host the materials on their website which is hugely flattering.
Have you come up against any resistance to the introduction of Tri-Knights?
Brian: Not at all, the response has been hugely positive. Having been involved in youth sport since the Millennium youth games, we have a strong ethos and wealth of experience, which seems to appeal to parents and kids alike.
What kind of responses have you had so far from schools, teachers and parents?
Brian: So far, 670 schools have downloaded the materials across the UK hoping to use them this Summer term. Triathlon Ireland plans to host the materials and run school training sessions on the back of Tri Knights and children’s registration has increased three-fold. We are happy and now watch this space for our Secondary School resource!