When you think of your typical triathlon champion, 9-year-old Dannah Golich probably doesn’t come to mind. But as a member of the Triathlon Club of San Diego’s youth program (or TriKids, for short), that’s exactly what she is.

Now in its third year and growing steadily, the club is geared to young athletes aged 5 to 13 years old – although older and younger althetes are welcomed.

Last May, in her fifth triathlon, Dannah finished first in the 9-year-old female division in the San Diego Ironkids competition, and will compete for the national title on Sept. 17 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Originally a swimmer, Dannah – a 4th grader at Monterey Ridge Elementary School in 4S Ranch – discovered her love for running when her swim team volunteered to clean up after a charity 5K in Balboa Park. “We decided that since we were going to be there anyway we might as well run the 5K,” she said. “I really enjoyed running.”

As a member of TriKids, Dannah has competed in numerous events and championships, and works out weekly. In 2010, she finished third in the Youth National Championship Triathlon in San Diego.

“I just enjoy competing and pushing myself,” she said. “I get a lot of support from my coaches Andy, Judi and my swim Coach Erin.”

The program offers athletes of all ages the opportunity to practice, compete, build skill and friendships, and foster activity and healthy habits. Young athletes interested in participating in the program should have

a well-fitting bike in good condition, a well-fitting helmet, running shoes, a swimsuit and goggles. Additionally the ability to swim approximately 50 yards independently is highly recommended to participate in the swim portion of competitions.

For more information, visit the Triathlon Club of San Diego’s website at

www.triclubsandiego.org