All photos of Drew by Sam Gherke

EDITORS NOTE:  These photos are from an amazing photo shoot on the waterfront in Tacoma, Washington on an incredible day in the Northwest. We first learned about Drew last year after his success at the USA Youth Triathlon Nationals and got to know him when he attended the Youth Runner Elite Middle School Camp last August.




Drew is a triathlete and cross country runner. He likes Madden Mobile Football, all of the Rocky movies, and describes himself as Determined, strong, & confident.


You had good success last year as a triathlete. Can you tell us about some of your competitions in 2017 and how that got you to the USAT Nationals.


I competed in the USA swimming regional competition at the King County Aquatic Center – Goodwill games pool last March, which consisted of swimmers from seven states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, and Hawaii). I also ran in the USATF state and regional championship track meet and qualified for nationals.  I placed second at regionals in the 1500 right behind Logan Law who placed third in the 1500 at nationals (I was unable to compete in The USATF track nationals as it was the same weekend as Triathlon nationals).



With just 30 seconds between you and a national title, is there anything you would have done different? Or could have done different?

In retrospect, I would definitely have put more focus and effort into faster transitions going from the swim to the bike and the bike to the run. I would also have ridden the bike harder as I probably held back a bit too much for the run at the end.


Can you give us the play by play of nationals, the start, how you did with the swim, bike and run.  Where you were at each transition.


The swim start was rough I sucked in some water right at the start, and didn’t get out as fast as I wanted to. Coming into the first transition I was in second place. I actually ran past my bike/gear in the transition area and had to go backwards. When I was on my bike I felt pretty good, but as mentioned previously I know I could have gone a little harder without sacrificing my run legs. Coming into the second transition I was third or fourth. The second transition went well and didn’t lose any spots. Overall, my run felt great! The run is usually the strongest for me of all three disciplines. I passed up two guys on the run and started to close in on the leader, but could not chase him down before the finish line.



What about your thoughts on this year and your strategy for nationals?

This coming year I will move up to the junior elite division, which is the 13–15 year old age group and drafting is allowed. My hope and goal is to place first out of all the 13-year-olds at nationals and top 30 overall. In order to achieve this, my strategy is to stay at the front of the swim group, try to hang on with the best bikers in the lead peloton, and then make up some places on the run. Additionally, I need to, and plan to have much faster transitions than in the past as that is very important in an Olympic triathlon.


Will your training change from 2017 to this year?

Not a whole lot will change except for more biking and learning to ride well in a pack, as well as more focused work on extremely fast transitions.


How do you split up your training between the swim, bike and running?

I do lots of swimming from the middle of December to the end of March. I then cut back on swimming and start mixing in more running and biking until the middle of August, and then do mostly running as I transition into the cross country season in the fall through cross country nationals in early December.



What are some of the triathlons on your calendar for this season?

USA Junior Elite Triathlon in Monroe which is a qualifier for nationals, Washington Athletic Club Indoor triathlon, and the USA triathlon nationals in West Chester Ohio in early August. I also usually do a local Sprint triathlon at Lake Stevens with my Dad in early September just as school is getting underway. 


For kids who have never been in a triathlon, what's it take to get started?

You just have to be able to swim, bike and run. You also have to like doing it, otherwise you might get frustrated and quit as there are quite a lot of moving parts and three different sports to train for.  Starters, I would find a local kids triathlon, then work your way up to bigger/faster/more competitive races.


This is Drew's dad Mark who is also a triathlete. In high school Mark and his brother were on a cross country team coached by Pat Tyson.


What do you love the most about running and competing in triathlons?

One of the things I like most about Triathlon is that you are doing three different sports in one race. I also like how you have to be able to switch from one sport to another very quickly in order to stay at the front of the pack.


Triathletes use a lot of gear, tell us about your wet suit preferences and what it takes for the swim. Your bike and the shoes you use for the bike and for running.

 I like my wet suit to be very flexible, especially under the arms, and to fit very snug and have no gaps/loose areas.  If I had to choose between a wetsuit being a bit too tight or a bit too loose, I would definitely choose a bit too tight. It is important to make sure you buy a wetsuit with good quality material as it will then breath well and keep you from overheating, and also makes it easier to get on and off which is important if you want to hang with the leaders. On the bike, the most important thing is to stay with the lead pack, so if you waste time in transition trying to get your wetsuit off, they will take off without you. I use blue Shimano TR9 triathlon shoes and blue Nike Zoom flies for the run!


You also did well with your cross country season last year, describe that experience of xc nationals and how it was different for you from the USAT.


First off, there are a lot more people at cross country nationals then at triathlon nationals, so it’s a lot more intimidating. Also, given that the cross country nationals race at my age level is so short, the first few hundred meters after the start matters a lot! Overall, last year‘s 2017 cross country nationals competition was a good experience because two years ago, I started out too hard and ended up “bonking“ in the last 400m, and one year ago, I dislocated & fractured my big toe at gymnastics practice a week before nationals, so being able to end up as an All-American a few months ago at cross country nationals felt good.  Looking back, I feel I started out a bit too hard once again, so I am looking forward to next time and using that knowledge and experience to help me plan out my race more strategically.





Food- Flank steak and almond puff pastry for dessert


Phone App-Madden Mobile Football


School Subject- Math (or PE if it counts)


Movie- All of the Rocky movies


NFL Player- Earl Thomas III


Winter Olympic Moment- Can I do summer (Michael Phelps‘s last gold medal win).


Describe yourself in three words.

Determined | Strong | Confident


Now just one word.



What is your advice for other kids that want to become a triathlete.

Try out a small, local Triathlon first, and if you like it, keep on it. You don’t have to get right into intense training. You can keep it fun and play in the pool and do a couple laps, ride your bike with friends a few days a week, and go on small runs or join a local track or cross country team. As your competitions start getting harder/faster, so will your workouts.



2nd - 2017 USA Triathlon Junior Olympic national competition

3rd - 2016 USA Triathlon Junior Olympic nationals

18th - 2015 USATF XC Nationals in New Mexico

18th - 2017 USATF XC Nationals in Florida