A Career for Triathletes

Have you ever wondered if being a triathlete could land you a career? Spoiler alert: it can, in the United States Military. And these careers are pretty cool. Ladies, you listen up too! Just because it’s the military doesn’t mean that you’re ineligible. With Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s announcement on Thursday that most combat positions will be reviewed to see if they can be accessed with gender-neutral standards, you could find yourself turning your swim-bike-run training into something bigger as well in the next few years.

A US Air Force recruiter stopped me at school a few weeks ago and asked if I had ever considered joining the Special Forces. Of course, I was confused about why on earth I caught his eye, so I asked the man why he picked me. He pointed to the triathlon logo on my jacket.

A US Special Forces Soldier tests an ATB. Photo Credit: Hans Halberstadt via combatreform.org

A US Special Forces Soldier tests an ATB. Photo Credit: Hans Halberstadt via combatreform.org

“We’re looking for physically qualified people to join the Special Forces – and the fact that you’re a triathlete means that there’s a good chance that you’re more than qualified for the job,” he told me. And after further research into the different branches, I realized that the minimum physical requirements for some of the most widely-recognized “impossible” jobs in the Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and Air Force Special Tactics could be attained by many triathletes just from their current training. Apart from becoming an Olympic triathlete, could you think of a better way to take your training and use it for your country?

There are plenty more requirements than just the physical ones, but there’s no harm in checking any of them out to see if turning your triathlon training into something else within the Military could be the right thing for you.

Here are links to the physical requirements for the above mentioned branches:

Army Green Beret: http://www.goarmy.com/special-forces/qualifications-and-benefits.html

Navy SEALs: http://www.sealswcc.com/navy-seals-enlisted-general-requirements.aspx#

Air Force Special Tactics: http://www.afsoc.af.mil/specialtactics/

That being said, if you’re considering joining the military, you may want to look into one of the US Service Academies or ROTC first. The Academies are some of the best educational institutions in this country, and get this: most of them have a triathlon team! And ROTC allows you to go to a “regular” college while training to graduate with a degree and a commission as an officer. Becoming an officer through an Academy/ROTC program and enlisting are very different concepts. Visit here to find out more about the differences between the two. Below are links to the Service Academy Admissions pages:

US Military Academy at West Point, NY: http://www.usma.edu/admissions/SitePages/Home.aspx

US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD: http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/

US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO (home of the US Olympic Team Training Center and USA Triathlon): http://www.academyadmissions.com/

US Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT: http://www.cga.edu/admissions/

US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY: http://www.usmma.edu/admissions/default.html

And here are links to more info on ROTC:

Army ROTC: http://www.goarmy.com/rotc.html

Naval ROTC: http://www.nrotc.navy.mil/

Air Force ROTC: http://www.afrotc.com/

Take a look and see if it’s something that you could be interested in. If you love the sport of triathlon and love your country, there are few jobs that would allow you to tie the two together. If you’re a stronger bicyclist, you may have to spend more time on the swim and the run – but you’re still already more prepared for Special Forces than the average Joe Shmoe.

Go Team ‘Murica!

Note: Always check with your parents before signing any paperwork!

-Alex Werden, YoungTri Execuitive Board Member

It’s About More Than Just Swimming, Biking and Running [part one]

We all race for a reason.

Whether it’s to beat our old PR, to accomplish a lifelong goal, or to try something new, triathlon provides an outlet through which our competitive desires can be fulfilled. And now more than ever, more and more triathletes are proving that triathlons are about more than just swimming, biking and running.

Many individuals choose to race for a cause to intertwine their competitive spirit and their desire to serve and do good. Whether you’re passionate about finding a cure for cancer, helping the blind, helping those with special needs or otherwise, there are many avenues in the triathlon world through which racing for a cause is possible. Some of these come directly through specific charities, like The MMRF. In other cases, athletes raise money through foundations or community funds, like through the Ironman Foundation.

Through our “Get Involved” series, you’ll find out more about these opportunities – and especially how you can take advantage of them.

YoungTri will be featuring more charities in the upcoming weeks and months; especially through a series about the Ironman Foundation and the measures that the organization takes to support local non-profit organizations.

8556261One of the charities featured on YoungTri.com’s “Get Involved” page is Swim for Smiles, a charity that YoungTri Executive Board member Alex Werden has been personally involved in for many years. The organization raises money for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital by putting on swim-orientated events involving hundreds of local children. Every year, the foundation puts on a youth triathlon in May. You can find out more about getting involved here: swimforsmiles.org

2412783_origI’ve been involved with Swim Across America for over a decade, an organization that makes waves to fight cancer through swimming related events. Swim Across America has raised over $30 million for cancer research. To get involved, check out the Swim Across America site for swims all across the country as well as information on how to start your own pool swim! (It’s not difficult, promise!) swimacrossamerica.org

These two charities are just a few of the ways that athletes can raise money and get involved for a cause close to their heart. Check out YoungTri’s growing “Get Involved” page here: http://www.youngtri.com/get-involved1.html Your favorite charity not on the list? No worries! Just click “submit” and tell us about it!

We’ll have more on racing for a cause soon – with stories from athletes as well as ways to get involved in your area.

Do you race for a cause? What’s your motivation?

Tri Hard,