Donations Sought for I-Tri

The group is engaged in an equipment drive to raise money for bicycles, helmets, swimsuits, swim caps, goggles, et cetera.
The I-Tri girls will continue swimming at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter pool on Saturday afternoons through May. Jack Graves

    The I-Tri empowerment-through-triathlon program has in it about 60 teenaged girls this February-through-July season, 25 of them from Southampton who have joined peers from Springs and Montauk.

    At the moment, the group, whose annual triathlon (a 300-yard bay swim, 7-mile bike leg, and 1.5-mile run) at Maidstone Park in Springs will be held July 13, is engaged in an equipment drive to raise money for bicycles, helmets, swimsuits, swim caps, goggles, et cetera.

    As Rose Dios, the owner of the Stitch store in Southampton, fitted some of the I-Tri girls at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter Saturday for dresses they’ll wear on their “day of beauty” this summer, Theresa Roden, the program’s founder, said that at least 30 participants and their parents had agreed to take part in a research study by Jen Gatz, an exercise physiologist and Advanced Placement biology teacher at Patchogue-Medford High School, that the doctoral candidate hopes will prove out her theory that aerobic exercise leads to quicker problem-solving and to changed attitudes among middle school-aged girls toward the study of science.

    Roden said that the girls had put jars for donations in stores “all over town,” and that they’ll also be selling raffle tickets and holding bake sales. “So far,” she said, “the jar donations have totaled $300. It costs $2,500 per girl per year and we’ve got 60 girls. That’s soup to nuts, including their athletic training, education, their equipment, uniforms. . . . People can also make tax-deductible donations online through our website,”

    While I-Tri’s bicycle fleet was growing, more, Roden said, were needed. Along that line, she said, “Chris Pfund at the Montauk Bike Shop has been very helpful in maintaining our bikes." The Kiwanis Club in Southampton is buying five bicycles, and the Rotations bike shop is ordering and assembling them. "We use on-road/off-road hybrids.”

    Three of the program’s initial members, Abby Roden, Alana Ellis, and Alexa Berti, who now are sophomores at East Hampton High School, have begun an I-Tri empowerment club there, Roden said in answer to a question.

    When asked if there were any I-Tri members from Sag Harbor, Roden said, “Our self-esteem, nutrition, and triathlon training programs are in the Montauk, Springs, and Southampton schools for now. . . . The Southampton parents have been very cooperative. We’re not in Sag Harbor yet.”

    Leading up to I-Tri’s youth triathlon is a Turbo Tri triathlon for competitors 17 and up, also at Maidstone Park, on June 21. The distances are the same as in the youth triathlon. Would-be participants (individuals and relay teams) can register online through turbotri. org.