USA Triathlon Florida Region Elections have begun!

Attention USA Triathlon Florida Region members!

Elections have started and it is important that you cast your vote. The goal of the council members in the Florida region is to build membership by implementing programs within the  sport so we can retain the current members and bring new athletes to the sport. In the previous years, the Florida Region has successfully developed programs for our members, such as:

  • Youth / Juniors
  • Paratriathlon
  • Clubs
  • Officials
  • Collegiate
  • Coaches
  • Race Directors
  • Women’s Initiative
  • Regional Championship Races

The two incumbent members have established successful programs and we are very proud to have them run for election again. The new members that are running for election are showing great drive and passion for the sport. They are willing to put the hard work, be present and develop the programs we have in place. Volunteers like this can only be found in our region.  Therefore, it is important that you cast your vote. Enclosed you will find the list of members currently running for election. Please review them.


Hector L Torres

USAT Florida Region – Chair

  • Lacey Chimienti –  Boca Raton, FL (Incumbent)
    • I have been serving the past two years on the Council as the Women’s Initiative Liaison. I have had the opportunity to start this program from scratch. It has been an incredible experience and one that I hope to continue to grow and strengthen.

      The Women’s Initiative program encompasses so many facets of the sport. My goal with the program is two fold – to motivate, encourage and help women in Florida get involved in the sport of triathlon. It is also to be that voice telling women yes you can get up, get active and be healthy in whatever capacity makes you the happiest! You CAN do it and USAT will support you on your journey. I personally will do whatever I can to get you up and moving!

      My continued goal for the Women’s initiative is to build a strong community of women and give women a place to come to build confidence and show them they can do it! I have wonderful goals for the upcoming year and will continue to impact all women in our region and beyond! I want to share my passion with other women and get them excited to lead healthy and active lifestyles!

  • Jim Sheets – Largo, FL (Incumbent)
    • My name is Jim Sheets and I have served our region as the Youth Development Coordinator since 2011. Over the past 4 years, I have partnered with the Heartland Triathlon to host our Regional Youth Championship and during that period of time, we have grown participation to nearly 300 athletes, and over a 15 youth multi-sport clubs. In addition, I have focused attention on working with our youth coaches and youth clubs. Our communications includes our USA Triathlon Florida Region website (, and our Florida Youth Coalition facebook page (

      I continue to reach out for input from our youth, their parents, the coaches/clubs, and our region council. My background includes nearly 30 years as a multi-sport athlete, Level 1 USA Triathlon Coach (4 years), Youth and Junior Certified Coach (4 years), Youth Triathlon Event Director (11 years), and a Youth Team Director (11 years). Thank you and I look forward to your consideration for my re-election.

  • Jerry Johnson – Bradenton, FL
    • My first triathlon was in 1987, and after becoming deeply involved with my career, and numerous breaks in physical activity, I reprioritized my schedule to allow for more exercise. Over the last decade, I worked myself from sprints up to Ironman distance in Wisconsin in 2012, where I raced with my late father.

      After 25 years in a large corporate environment, I had the desire to do something more meaningful with my career and life. My wife, Amy, and I have recently refocused our lives around helping others to pursue a healthier lifestyle and have opened a triathlon retail store, Endurance House, in Sarasota, Florida.

      While equipped to supply triathletes of all levels, our primary focus is on bringing new participants into the sport.  Our atmosphere and approach are thoughtfully planned to be warm and welcoming to new participants. Our goal is to be non-intimidating, to meet clients where they are, and help them on their journey to fitness and health.

      In support of this, and the value that I have received from participation in triathlon, I would like to give back to the triathlon community, and would be pleased to volunteer my time with the USAT Florida Regional Council.

  • Roger McVeigh – Key West, FL
    • I am interested in serving the USAT Regional Council Florida Region to support the USAT in its mission of growing and inspiring the Triathlon Community. Regional Councils play an important role in providing the link between leadership at the National Level and members on the ground. My first experience in Triathlon was in 1988 at the USAT Series in Atlanta, Ga. I raced for 4 years, competing in Olympic and Half Ironman races (St. Anthony’s and Gulf Coast).  With increased career responsibilities and a heavy professional workload and travel schedule (CPA, retired, Partner KPMG LLP, Atlanta 1983-2006), I was unable to compete again until 2004.
    • Since then and retirement to Key West in 2006, I have lived the TriLife, devoting significant time to Triathlon. Since 2011, I have raced in over 30 events, including 10 Half and Full Ironman distance events, and achieved certification as a USAT Level 1 Coach in 2014. I am a founding member (an officer) of the Key West Tri Club, growing membership from 2010 to over 70 triathletes today.
  • Gabriel Saavedra – Boca Raton, FL
    • I have been a competitive endurance athlete, a licensed massage therapist and certified personal trainer for 8 years.  I am currently the director of endurance sports (DES) at the world-renowned Institute of Human performance.  While DES at IHP, I am collaborating on researching and implementing their “reduced volume” endurance program with endurance athletes of all levels.

      I believe my unique qualifications and position within IHP would serve the USA Triathlon Association (USAT) in a variety of ways.  As an endurance athlete I can relate to all members of the USAT who compete. I understand the concerns surrounding managing life’s responsibilities and the training associated with competition.  As a massage therapist, I understand the management of physical resources, rehabilitating injuries and most importantly the prevention of injuries.  As a personal trainer I understand the important concepts surrounding exercise physiology and how they apply to the design of effective strength and conditioning programs for endurance athletes.  As IHP’s DES, I have the great advantage of being at the center of the latest developments within the human performance field and able to directly translate that to the endurance sports field.  These unique skill set makes me an excellent candidate for your board.

  • Nick Valaitis – Delray Beach, FL
    • As a passionate athlete of triathlon since 2010, it would be a great opportunity to serve as a regional council member so help grow the Southeast region as well as the local community of triathlon. My goals are what has driven me to push myself and I find great passion in helping others meet and exceed their goals. Triathlon has taught me to believe in myself and would love to share my passion of a healthy triathlon lifestyle to others.
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