USA Triathlon Launches Pilot Program for “Splash, Spin, Sprint” School Curriculum

By USA Triathlon | Nov. 22, 2019, 3:33 p.m. (ET)


L-R: Billy Mills Middle School P.E. teachers Emily Hess and Jay Deiser; USA Triathlon Youth Program Coordinator Kari Ann Pappas; youth curriculum co-authors Dr. Duston Morris and Liz Dobbins; Lawrence Public Schools Asst. Director Denise Johnson; USA Triathlon Youth Program Manager Meg Duncan. 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced it has launched its first pilot program for the “Splash, Spin, Sprint” school curriculum, a resource for physical education teachers and school administrators nationwide to introduce more youth than ever before to the sport of triathlon. The pilot is being implemented for the first time at Billy Mills Middle School in Lawrence, Kansas, and will expand to additional schools starting in January 2020.

The “Splash, Spin, Sprint” curriculum is a product of more than 10 years of collaboration between USA Triathlon; Alive With Mission Me, a former nonprofit that combatted childhood obesity through the development of youth multisport curricula and programs; experienced triathletes and multisport coaches; and recognized scholars in health, recreation and physical education. 

The school manual, geared toward students ages 6-12, is a resource for physical educators as well as a call-to-action to address the growing health problems related to physical inactivity and obesity among American youth.

The materials were co-authored by Liz Dobbins, Adjunct Lecturer for the University of Kansas and Owner and CEO of Propelogy.com; Joan Brewer, Interim Dean and Associate Dean of The Teacher’s College and a professor of health, physical education and recreation at Emporia State University; and Dr. Duston Morris, Associate Professor at the University of Central Arkansas. Meg Duncan, Youth Program Manager at USA Triathlon, also advised and collaborated on the project.

The curriculum offers a nine-week unit lesson manual, which includes more than 25 individual lesson plans. Teachers have the ability to modify and adapt each lesson to their students’ specific needs and skill levels while introducing them to healthy lifestyles through swimming, biking and running.

The pilot program at Billy Mills Middle School, a part of Lawrence Public Schools, will involve 150 sixth-grade students. All participants will receive a complimentary USA Triathlon youth digital membership as part of the program.

“USA Triathlon is proud to implement our first-ever multisport school curriculum at Billy Mills Middle School,” Duncan said. “Watching the teachers design and integrate the curriculum, successfully introducing their students to all the benefits of a multisport lifestyle, is an impactful step forward for our youth programming development.”

“We are very excited about working with USA Triathlon,” said Denise Johnson, Assistant Director of Fine Arts, Health, P.E. and Wellness for Lawrence Public Schools. “This is a unique opportunity for our students and a way to increase their physical activities and encourage lifetime fitness.”

Additional Billy Mills Middle School staff members involved in the pilot program include physical education teachers Emily Hess, Jay Deiser and Jayme Savage.

To learn more about the “Splash, Spin, Sprint” curriculum and USA Triathlon’s youth programming, visit usatriathlon.org/youth. For inquiries about starting a school pilot program, please reach out to Duncan at meg.duncan@usatriathlon.org.  

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

About Billy Mills Middle School
Renamed Billy Mills Middle School in 2018-2019 to honor Billy Mills, Oglala Lakota (Sioux), an Olympic gold medalist, South Junior High was established in 1968 and moved into a new facility in 2007. Haskell Indian Nations University donated the land where Billy Mills Middle School, Broken Arrow Elementary School, and Broken Arrow Park are located. Home of the Cougars, the school's colors are black and gold. Billy Mills Middle School is a school rich in tradition, school spirit, and focused on student-centered instruction.