The first time was a charm for 13-year-old Tyler Pawlowski in the second annual Hamptons Youth Triathlon in Sag Harbor on July 14.
The Nassau County resident overtook Southampton’s Maggie Purcell during the 1.5-mile run, after trailing her during the 300-yard swim and seven-mile bike portion of the race to win with a time of 41:48. Purcell was second in 42:39, followed by Keegan Guyer (43:48), Isabella Tarbet (44:40), Hadley Clayton (45:38), Caelan Clayton (47:02), Evie Purcell (48:07), Hank Sweeney (48:21), Craig Sheehan (48:55) and Olivia Duca (49:15).
Full results are at just-in-time-racing.com.
Not only was it Pawlowski’s first time in the Hamptons Youth Triathlon, but it also marked his first ever effort in a triathlon. After the race, Pawlowski said that he and his father decided on somewhat of a whim that day to make the trek out to Sag Harbor to compete, although he did add that he had discussed with his father the possibility of doing a triathlon and that they’d recently been researching youth triathlons.
The rising eighth-grader said he enjoyed the course, despite encountering some adversity: the chain on his bike fell off during the bike portion and he had to stop to put it back on before he could finish. Despite that, he still managed to beat Purcell, a talented athlete who attends Southampton High School and is a standout swimmer, having qualified for states while swimming independently for her school, which does not have its own varsity swim team. She’s also qualified several times for YMCA Nationals with her club swim team, the East Hampton Hurricanes, and is a member of the track and field team at Southampton, along with her young sister, Evie Purcell.
The triathlon is also a showcase each year for the I-Tri girls, and is the premier event for the program, which promotes confidence and self-esteem for young girls through various initiatives, including a several weeks long training regimen for the triathlon. The program began in Springs and has since expanded to include middle-school aged girls in Montauk, Pierson, Southampton, with plans to expand into East Hampton Middle School and the William Floyd school district. A total of 65 girls from the program competed in the triathlon this year, many of whom had little or no experience with any of the aspects of triathlon competition prior to joining.
Montauk resident Jessica Guallpa, a rising eighth-grader, was the first I-Tri girl to finish on Thursday, taking 12th overall in 49:45. It was her second year competing in the triathlon, and she said afterward she saw significant improvement. Guallpa served as a mentor this year for some of the newer I-Tri girls.
“I think I biked faster this time,” she said. Guallpa, who also plays soccer, volleyball and basketball, said I-Tri has been great for her.
“I really like I-Tri,” she said. “Ever since I was in I-Tri, I met new friends and it’s really helped me be positive a lot.”
Theresa Roden, the founder of I-Tri, was proud of the efforts of all the program’s participants.
“This was our largest group of girls to date, and they all did an amazing job,” she said. “Many were non-swimmers at the start of the program and yet each of them swam 300 yards. We had five girls who were unable to ride a bike at the start and each of them successfully completed the bike course, and each of the girls ran her heart out to the finish.”