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Huskisson Australian Long Course Race Preview

The 2011 Jervis Bay Triathlon Festival is on this weekend and whilst the men’s open field is missing 2 or 3 bigger names we will still see Pete Jacobs, Ollie Whistler, Adam Holborrow and a handful of other potential podium finishers racing. The women’s open race has a strong field showcasing some of our top long course triathletes. Nicole Ward, Michelle Wu, newcomers Madeleine Oldfield and Matilda Raynolds, Jacinta Worland and Vickie Wilkinson sees a strong field. Last year’s female winner, Carrie Lester was a late entry but has since pulled out due to illness. We also take a look at two of triathlon’s past greats who are racing this weekend also.

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By Karl Hayes

Jervis Bay Triathlon Festival Website

Full open start list below

The 2011 Jervis Bay Triathlon Festival is on this weekend and whilst the men’s open field is missing 2 or 3 bigger names we will still see Pete Jacobs, Ollie Whistler, Adam Holborrow and a handful of other potential podium finishers racing. Olympic and sprint distance proponent Michael Fox is also racing this weekend. This is not his normal distance so it will be interesting to see how he goes.

The women’s open race has a strong field showcasing some of our top long course triathletes. Nicole Ward Michelle Wu, newcomers Madeleine Oldfield and Matilda Raynolds, Jacinta Worland and Vickie Wilkinson sees a strong lineup. Last year’s female winner, Carrie Lester was a late entry but has since pulled out due to illness. Last year’s 3rd placed Tara Prowse has been dealing with injuries over the last 12 months and is currently focusing on short course now that she is injury free. 2010 2nd place Pip Taylor is also not racing at Husky this weekend.

Trizone spoke to a number of the leading professional and open triathletes who will be racing the long course this weekend to find out how they are tracking for the race this weekend and what 2011 has in store for them.

Although Pete Jacobs is the best known and most successful of the open triathletes racing this weekend, Trizone wanted to acknowledge a couple of triathlon greats who will be racing in the 45-49 age group.Another top 40+ triathlete to watch is Matthew Koorey who finsihed 15th overall last year and is down to race again this weekend.

Bruce Thomas and Spot Anderson are two of Australia’s greatest triathletes. Last year Bruce finished 32nd overall in a time of 4:07.

Bruce Thomas TriathleteBruce Thomas

Bruce Thomas is a four times Australian Ironman Triathlon Champion and finished 7th at the Hawaii Ironman in 1993. He also has many other top international triathlon achievements and was admitted to the Australian Ironman Hall of Fame in 2003. Bruce raced extensively in Australia and Internationally, representing Australia in the Elite Division at World Long Course Championships and at the Hawaii Ironman. Bruce was the runner up in the World Ironman Triathlon Series in 1993 and was the 1993-94 Triathlete of the Year. He was awarded with the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his achievements and contribution to sport. He raced with many of the legends of triathlon such as Mark Allen, Dave Scott, Greg Welch, Greg Bennett , Chris McCormack, Chippy Slater, Spot Anderson amongst many others. I saw Bruce out at the 2011 All Schools Triathlon the other day where there were 2500 students competing and amongst them was one of Australia’s ironman greats (Mick Maroney was also there talent spotting and chaperoning the teams from his school). Apart from teaching, Bruce has a successful triathlon coaching business with his wife Christina Thomas who is also a former Australian ironman winner.

Bruce’s only pre race excuse for this weekend was that he has not done much cycling.

Spot Anderson

Spot Anderson is also one of the greats and one of the great characters of the sport. Spot is calling himself ‘Fat Coach’ right now but as we all know he will be one of the fastest swimmers, a top competitor on the bike and will dig deep on the run. Spot won the Australian Triathlon Series, including the Long Course Champs in 1989. He was part of the team that won a World Team Title in 1989. In that race, he was coming third with Mark Allen, who went on to win, when he flatted on the bike. Spot went back to 40th but was able to run back to ninth via the fastest run split of the day. Spot took part in the Surf Ironman Series (Uncle Tobys and Nutri Grain). I remember Spot saying to me a couple of years ago that he is a more natural runner than a swimmer – a surprise given that we all know him as a great swimmer. Spot ran the hilly 14km City to Surf before he started training in 49 minutes, and then went on to twice run 44 minutes. Spot has been known to comment that you don’t do long course until you are slowing down. Recently he has done Port Mac half, IMWA and now he is doing Husky long course – what is this saying about the great Spot Anderson? Spot’s coaching business is Bondi Fit and you can see him most days of the week at either Centennial Park in Sydney or the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.

This weekend Spot is racing in the Bondi Fit ‘Blokes v Chicks’ challenge. So if you see a bloke struggling out there in a yellow and blue Bondi Fit singlet cheer him on.

The favourite for this weekend’s Australian long course (and last years 2nd place getter and the winner in 2009) is undoubtedly Pete Jacobs. Although 2010 Canberra half ironman winner Ollie Whistler no doubt has other thoughts about the outcome of this weekend’s main race.

Pete Jacobs

Pete_Jacobs_TriathletePete’s training has been very off and on after a recent round of antibiotics. “I was happy with where I was a few weeks ago, but I undertook some pretty serious antibiotics to try and get rid of a parasite and that seems to have knocked me around the last few weeks. I’m confident I’ll get some energy up before the Australian Long Course Champs this weekend, and my running is still going well enough I am looking forward to the 20k dash.”

This is Jacob’s first race of the season, and the following weekend he will be racing the Singapore 70.3. In his usual understated way “I will try and do a few big days training after Australian Champs this weekend before I travel to Singapore. The distance this Sunday will be good training. Not flat out, but a solid distance at a solid tempo, and saving something for the run. It is just a stepping stone in my long build up to Challenge Cairns.”

In 2010 Pete’s season was thrown in to disarray when he broke his collar bone not long after Husky. This meant he could not race at Abu Dhabi. He did place 4th at Challenge Roth in his comeback race then went on to win Forster Olympic distance and the Philippines 70.3.

Adam Holborrow TriathleteAdam Holborrow

Adam Holborow (pictured right) finished 4th overall at last year’s race after a huge improvement over his 2009 placing. This year he is a possible podium finisher with main contenders Pete Jacobs and Ollie Whistler the only ones likely to keep him out of 1st and 2nd. “Training has been going well for me. I have been cutting down on the amount of km’s I have done and picked up the intensity. I am feeling really good with everything going smoothly right now. Getting an Australian long course title is definitely something we would all love to have. It is a big race for a lot of people. It is really the first big race of 2011 and will show mine and everyone’s fitness for the start of the year.

The distance is an unknown right now for Adam. “I am feeling really good and am half way through training for Ironman Australia. After Husky my focus is firmly Ironman Australia (7 weeks after husky). I am really looking forward to the new course so can’t wait to race there. Pete Jacobs is going to be very hard to beat on the day.”

Alex Price

Another of the open men racing this weekend who will admits that he is well underdone in the run after suffering a stress fracture in his foot in early December is Alex Price. This meant that he spent 3 months in a moon boot, with swimming the only training he has been able to do! He has been around many of the races though commentating at them for Elite Energy during the triseries.

“I have only been back on the bike for 3 weeks, leaving my level of fitness nowhere near I hoped for this race. That said, I have been spending many hours practicing what I preach doing core work and functional strengthening exercises and have never been more motivated to train and race than I am at the moment. My swim has picked up, so I am really looking forward to testing this out on the weekend.”

Alex Price TriathletePrice is using Husky as a great training race and as mentioned doesn’t have great expectations after the long layoff from injury. “I am just really looking forward to getting out there and mixing it with the guys. I love this race, it is one of the favourite races I have ever done!”

What is Alex Price up to after Husky? “I am racing the Sydney Olympic, followed by the 70.3 in Port Macquarie. I am then going over to Spain to be the physiotherapist for the NSWIS/VIS elite triathletes, which will be a great opportunity to also do some great training and racing. I am looking forward to working very hard over the next 6 months so that I can be really competitive next Australian season.”

I asked Price for his views of the guys racing this weekend. As someone who works with NSWIS and a number of our top triathletes he has a good idea where many of them are at. “Obviously Pete Jacobs will be strong and has a very good record here in Husky. That said there is a group just below him who are also very strong. Guys like Adrian Cominotto, Adam Holborrow and Foxy (Michael Fox) will be right there with Pete out of the water and there will be several who will be riding strong, including Ollie Whistler, Jan Rehula and Lindsay Wall, who are fresh off great results at the tough Falls Creek course. Matt Pellow, who is training with me here in Wollongong with the NSWIS group will swim well and no doubt will be strong on the run. It is a hot field and while there is no world champion present, the field has more depth than ever. It will be great for the spectators!”

Alex Reithmeier is out with a stress fracture – which Alex Price is treating at the moment. Lindsay Wall has shown some big improvement and will be strong. Jan Rehula – bronze medal in Sydney will be really hard to beat – may give Pete and a couple of others at the front like Ollie and Adam a run! Not sure how Lee Wallace is going. Chris Dmitrieff is always a strong competitor and will be fit coming into IM.

Michael FoxMichael Fox Triathlete

Huskisson Long Course will be Michael Fox’s second long course race. Sprint and Olympic are generally his focus. “It will be good to throw myself out there to a new challenge.I’m just really enjoying my racing at the moment.After a 4:10 in the 2010 Gold Coast Half and a rather conservative bike leg, this weekend I will be trying to focus on my bike leg and hope to be able to follow that through with a solid run.”

“Training has been going smoothly for me. I have started teaching this year and with the guys at High Performance Tri being so flexible, I have settled into my schedule quickly. Come Sunday there should be no excuses. There is still a quality field, even with other major international events being on the same weekend. It should be a great race and I look forward to see everyone in action over the weekend.”

Nicole Ward

Nicole Ward TriathleteOne of our leading long course triathletes is Nicole Ward. Nicole’s goal race right now is Ironman Australia in May. Everything she is doing training wise is focused on this goal. I am fortunate enough to regularly train with Nicole and she does not get involved in any testosterone fuelled running and cycling bravado. She maintains her pace and sticks to her plan no matter how much we bait her. She is firmly focused on IM Oz. In 2010 Nicole had some great results with a 2nd at Shepparton half ironman, 2nd at Port Douglas long course, 3rd at Forster Olympic distance, 4th at Port Macquarie half ironman, 6th at Ironman Coueur dAlene in the USA and 6th at Ironman New Zealand.

Nicole has been quite focused on strength work but with some more speed and intensity recently. â€œMy recent speed work should hopefully help for the weekend as I think it’s going to be a fast race. This weekend will be a good test to see how things are tracking with my training and give me a good hit out. I haven’t raced in Husky for a couple of years now and I really love racing there. I think the course really suits me.”

What is next for you after Husky? “This distance is perfect for me right now with Port Macquarie Ironman on 1st May. I am looking forward to taking some time out of racing and just focusing on a solid training block leading into this race. I did my last ironman in the United States, 11 months ago and I think the time off racing this distance has been just what I needed as I’m really excited about racing my favourite distance again!!”

On the other women racing this weekend Nicole commented: “Michelle Wu is always a fierce competitor and Madeline Oldfield proved herself in Falls Creek with the win so they are probably the key girls to watch. Matilda Reynolds, a fellow TriNSW squad member is also having a fantastic season and is definitely capable of being up there. I think it might be a close one.”

Madeleine Oldfield

Madeleine Oldfield TriathleteEveryone will be watching Madeleine Oldfield to see if she can replicate her recent win at Falls Creek. Madeleine is now well on the way to becoming a serious long course and 70.3 triathlete. Since Falls Creek her training has been going very well with some real positive signs. “Over the past 2 weeks I have put together some of my best sessions to date and I’m starting to see the results in some of the times I am posting in training. It has been tough, but all signs are pointing towards a really good season as long as I can stay injury free. I only decided to race Huskisson a few weeks ago. After doing better than I expected at Falls Creek and getting the win, I thought it would be great to have a go at gaining an Australian title. I have heard great things about the course at Huskisson so can’t wait to get started!”

Having only raced 2 long course triathlons (Shepparton and Falls Creek) Madeleine is still learning how her body is responding to the hard racing and increased training volume. “Huskisson will be a great test to see where I’m at. It will be great to gain some more experience racing the longer distance and it will hopefully set me up for the next 6 months of racing the 70.3 distance.”

What next after Huskisson? “Following on from Huskisson I will race in the final round of the Gatorade Triathlon Series at St Kilda. I will then start preparing for the 70.3 circuit which will include Port Mac 70.3 as well as various races across North America, with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the World 70.3 Champs in Las Vegas.”

“All the girls racing are in with a chance of getting on top of the podium, so it will be an exciting day out. I raced Nicole and Michelle at the Falls Creek Long Course and they are both amazing athletes. I will have to be on top of my game if I am to challenge them at Huskisson on Sunday.”

Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu TriathleteUp against Nicole Ward, Madeleine Oldfield and Matilda Raynolds will be 70.3 (and ex Olympic distance) specialist Michelle Wu. Michelle won a number of races last year including Tawain 70.3, Canberra Half Ironman, Nepean Triathlon, Japan 70.3 along with 2nd at the Yeppoon Half Ironman Byron Bay.

Michelle says training has been going well. She has recovered well after Falls Creek and has been putting in some solid work since. “I was happy with Falls Creek being it was my first race of the year. There are definitely things to improve on though and I think Husky will really suit me. I have been working with my new coac

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.

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USA Triathlon Announces 2018 Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series Calendar

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USA Triathlon today announced that its Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series is set to return for the seventh consecutive year, with more than 55 swim-run events planned in cities across the United States this season.

The series, launched in 2012 with 30 events, is designed to introduce youth athletes between the ages of 7 and 15 to the multisport lifestyle through the fast-growing discipline of aquathlon. With a focus on participation and fun, rather than competition, many of the events are not timed.

At all Splash & Dash events, participants ages 7-10 will complete a 100-meter pool swim and a 1-kilometre run, while athletes ages 11-15 will complete a 200m pool swim and a 2k run. All participants receive a t-shirt, custom finisher’s medal and giveaways from the Boy Scouts of America and the USA Swimming Foundation, both partners of the series.

The 2018 season kicks off in mid-March and runs through October, with events hosted in each of USA Triathlon’s six Regions. USA Triathlon partnered with race directors, community centres, coaches, clubs, and parks and recreation departments to solidify the slate of more than 55 events, a record high for the series. USA Triathlon staff will also host the annual Colorado Springs, Colorado, event, which is presented by SafeSplash Swim School, on Aug. 19.

“With the seventh iteration of the USA Triathlon Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series, we will introduce more kids than ever to multisport in a single season,” said Brian D’Amico, USA Triathlon Director of Events. “Increasing youth participation is a major focus not only for USA Triathlon but for the industry as a whole through the recently-launched Time to Tri initiative. We look forward to working with each of the hosts on this year’s Splash & Dash calendar to make the 2018 series the most successful yet.”

The Splash & Dash series saw record participation in 2017, with 2,250 youth athletes competing in 50 events nationwide.

Visit usatriathlon.org/splashanddash for the latest calendar and complete information on the series. The series calendar and locations are subject to change.

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St. Anthony’s Triathlon Announced as 2018 USAT Regional Championship

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USA Triathlon (USAT) has selected St. Anthony’s Triathlon as a 2018 Regional Championship Race. The 35th annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon will take place on April 29, 2018 with approximately 3,000 athlete participants competing over the race weekend.

As a USAT Regional Championship site, registered USAT athletes can qualify from the St. Anthony’s Triathlon for the 2018 Olympic-Distance National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio to be held on August 11, 2018. In order to qualify for the National Championships, competitors must finish in the top 33 percent or top five (whichever is greater) competitors per their respective age groups. In addition, this year’s St. Anthony’s Triathlon will also serve as the USAT Southeastern Regional Championship.

“We are proud to have been selected again as a USAT Regional Championship race,” said Susan Daniels, race director for St. Anthony’s Triathlon. “This event hosts some of the best athletes in the world, and we are honoured to offer triathletes the opportunity to qualify for the USAT National Championship on our St. Petersburg course.”

The St. Anthony’s Triathlon is also making some exciting changes to the event by extending the Sports and Fitness Expo from a two-day to three-day event and holding all Triathlon events in one park instead of two. The Sports and Fitness Expo will take place from April 27-29 St. Petersburg’s waterfront Vinoy Park. “Extending our sports and fitness expo gives our competitors more opportunities to check out the latest race gear and moving to one location, makes it more convenient for them,” said Daniels.

For kids and novice adults, the Meek & Mighty Triathlon occurs on April 28, and the main Triathlon, for both Olympic and Sprint distance races, runs on April 29.

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Ironman 70.3 Geelong: Sam Appelton Too Strong and Nina Derron Wins in a Thriller

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IRONMAN’s 40th Anniversary was celebrated in grand style and the gods were smiling with IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong replicating some of the sport’s greatest drama with a sprint, fall, stumble, lunge finish between Nina Derron (SUI) and Melbourne rookie Grace Thek. The men’s race also lived up to the excellence of the preceding decades with a stunning performance by defending champion Sam Appleton.

Spectators had been enthralled by the epic battle between Appleton, Josh Amberger, Jake Montgomery and Ryan Fisher but just when they thought they had seen a thrilling race, the guys were upstaged by the emotional and physical roller coaster that was the women’s event.

Barwon Heads local Claire Davis was the first female to reach dry land (26:07) with Kirralee Seidel, Nina Derron (SUI) and Grace Thek in touch and eager to get onto the 90km bike leg. Derron was looking to control the race and at 45km she had extended her lead to 3:30 over Davis, Thek and the charging Laura Dennis. Seidel picked up a penalty and lost touch completely, finding herself nine minutes down. At three quarter distance Dennis managed to ride herself into second place with Thek and Davis in a tight battle for third and fourth place.

With Swiss precision, Derron lead into T2 by five minutes over the chasing pair of Dennis and Thek, with the local hope a further minute down. In the second half of the 21km run things started to change radically. Derron started to feel the pinch and Thek literally found her feet and charged through the field to find herself leading her very first IRONMAN 70.3. Thek was heading for a 70.3 victory on debut and with the finish line in sight, the former US college runner started to pay the penalty for her early over-exuberance.

“I was hoping to do four-minute pace but for the first three km I found myself doing 3:30 and I really paid for it on the last lap. I was about four and a half minutes down off the bike and I didn’t know if that was achievable. When I was two minutes down with a lap to go I thought it was possible but the end was just devastating. When I passed Nina I just wanted enough room so that it didn’t come down to a sprint finish. I was really suffering with my legs over the last 6km and I was just trying to get forward momentum. I was getting all sorts of splits from people on the course, so I really didn’t know.”

“When I came into the finish chute I was thinking I am almost there, just stay in the game but I started sprinting which was a big mistake on my part because I knew that my legs were already suffering pretty badly. Then I fell the first time when my quads locked up. When I fell to the ground I saw Nina and she wasn’t as close as everyone had made out. So I quickly got up and started running and two metres before the line I fell over again. I was all over the place and got a bit of a nudge which didn’t help.”

“In hindsight, the sprint was not a good idea. It is a lesson learned, don’t listen to anyone except for my coach and people I trust. I don’t condone looking back in a race but looking for myself might have been a good move here. These are the things I can take into the next race. It is disappointing to be that close and not come away with the win but coming in, I had no expectations. It is my first 70.3 and has been a positive day, so I am eager for more now,” Grace said.

Derron’s win was her first over the IRONMAN 70.3 distance and while ecstatic with the result, she had great sympathy for Thek.

“I really struggled on the second lap of the run. I just had to stay focused because I knew that Grace was flying and I just tried to hold on to the lead for as long as possible. There were huge mind games going on in my head and people were telling me to go get her. She was 50m in front with only a 100m to go but I knew I couldn’t out sprint her. I saw her starting to stumble and then she fell and all I saw was the finish line and I accelerated and came past her.”

“It was a really strange finish to a really crazy day. I am happy for my win but I am also sad for Grace that it happened. It was her first 70.3 race so she did a really good job. It was another lesson I learned, that it is not over until it is over. Never give up, it is really true,” Nina declared.

In the men’s race, it was Aussie Olympian Ryan Fisher who took the swim honours (22:34), narrowly nudging out Josh Amberger over the glassy 1.9km course. As the pair headed to T1, they were hotly pursued by a bunch of three, defending champion Sam Appleton, Jack Tierney and Matt Franklin with the second chase pack that included Jake Montgomery almost a minute off the pace.

Appleton was keen to make up the swim deficit and in no time at all the lead duo became a trio, with the defending champion in touch and pushing the early pace. Only seconds separated the leaders at half distance with Jake Montgomery 20s further behind and riding himself into contention. The final kilometres of the ride saw some big moves from Lachlan Kerin, Montgomery and Jack Tierney. Off the bike, it was a bunch of six who entered T2 ready to celebrate the IRONMAN Anniversary by flogging each other senselessly over the super quick 21km coastal course.

Slick transitions had Appleton, Amberger and Fisher on the road first with Tierney, Montgomery and Kieran hoping to match pace over the opening kilometres. It was Appleton who was intent on inflicting some hurt and tearing up the tarmac and while the first small gaps started to appear it was only early days. At 10km Appleton looking strong and a minute to Fisher, with Amberger and Montgomery running shoulder to shoulder, with Tierney and Kieran in their own battle for fifth and sixth.

The defending champ knew what he had to do and despite suffering over the second half of the run he was able to pull it all together.

“It is the first race of the year and you don’t really know what to expect. I knew if I was fit, I just didn’t know if I was race fit. I gave it my best shot and fortunately, I was able to come away with the win. The guys kept me honest all day and it was really tough. There were six of us going into transition and that second pack rode really well. We rode really firm on the first lap and I didn’t expect to hit the U-turn and see them right there. You never want to go into the run with six guys, I would prefer there were less but I just had to back myself. I laid it out in the beginning and got a gap and then it was about holding on from there.”

“It is crazy that this sport only started 40 years and look at the evolution. Every year it changes and is getting faster and harder. I am proud to be part of the generation that is helping that evolution. I am honoured to be here in Geelong and be able to back up and defend my title. It is a great course here in Geelong, I love it. It is beautiful and one of my favourite races. It is really challenging on the run. The course profile doesn’t show it but it is really hard run. It has a bit of everything. I can’t wait to come back, I love opening up the season here,” he said.

Women’s results

1          Nina DERRON (#26)               04:26:11

2          Grace THEK (#31)                  04:26:18

3          Laura DENNIS (#25)               04:29:38

4          Kirralee SEIDEL (#22)             04:33:36

5          Melanie BURKE (#23)             04:34:46

 

Men’s results

1          Sam APPLETON (#1)             03:45:52

2          Josh AMBERGER (#2)           03:47:21

3          Ryan FISHER (#5)                  03:49:09

4          Jake MONTGOMERY (#3)     03:49:57

5          Jack TIERNEY (#16)               03:52:18

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Bill Chaffey Throws Caution to the Wind in Commonwealth Games Countdown

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Five-time World Champion Bill Chaffey will go into April’s Commonwealth Games in the best shape of his life after using all his experience to master today’s windswept conditions in the inaugural ITU Paratriathlon World Cup in Devonport.
 
The 42-year-old Gold Coaster made a spectacular return to elite racing for the first time since last May to defeat fellow Rio Paralympian Nic Beveridge (QLD), Germany’s Benjamin Lenatz, and Australian pair, former wheelchair basketballer Scott Crowley (SA) and Australian para cycling star Alex Welsh (Victoria).

And it came on a day which also saw reigning 26-year-old PTWC world champion Emily Tapp (QLD) dig deeper than she has ever done before, both mentally as well as physically to take out the women’s ITU World Cup title ahead of 29-year-old former Ironman triathlete Lauren Parker (NSW) in only her second major event, Japanese legend Wakato Tsuchida and the gritty Gold Coaster Sara Tait (QLD).

All competitors in the various paratriathlon categories, featuring the cream of Australia’s best and top flight internationals from Japan, Italy, Hong Kong, Canada and Germany showed amazing skill sets to handle the at times brutal head winds that circled through the Mersey Bluff in and around the Devonport Surf Club precinct.

For the wheelchair athletes, today’s results come in the countdown to the official announcement next Sunday of the Australian paratriathlete team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and for Chaffey and Tapp it has been a long time coming following their automatic nominations last April.

Chaffey has been the poster boy for Australia’s glowing Paralympic program which has seen him lead the team onto the world stage as one of the stand-out nations in world triathlon.

“I’m absolutely over the moon with that performance – to come back to Devonport and chalk up a win in probably some of the toughest conditions I’ve raced in is really pleasing,” said Chaffey.

“That wind was hard to handle even though we are close to the ground on our cycles – it’s still tough going.

“But I couldn’t be happier with my fitness – I’m in the best shape of my life and really looking forward to the Games in April.”

Tapp came into today’s race feeling a little under the weather and said her support team really played a major hand in getting her through.

“It hasn’t been the best of week’s health wise but it doesn’t matter come race day, it’s race day, “said Tapp, who qualified for the 2016 Paralympic team athletics team but was forced to withdraw when she accidentally burnt herself.

“Today was a big mental feat, when your body just isn’t there and able to give like it normally (does). We had smooth transitions and we executed our race plans so we’re happy.”

Parker, who was an outstanding open water swimmer and Ironman triathlete before an horrific training accident last April in Newcastle left her a paraplegic, and today was another major step in a road she never thought she would have to tread.

“Today didn’t go according to plan when I lost the band I put around my legs in the swim so it felt like I was swimming with a 10km weight on the end of my legs but we got through it and I know I have to work on my transitions but that will come,” said Parker, who will join the paratriathlete group on the Gold Coast next weekend for the Luke Harrop Memorial Race.

It was a successful return to top class racing for Paralympic gold medallist from Rio, Katie Kelly and new domestic guide Briarna Silk with Kelly admitting the race was “a real grind” given the windy conditions.

“But it was a great way to kick start the season that will hope fully culminate in the ITU World Championships on the Gold Coast in September and continues in Yokohama in a couple of weeks.”

Fellow two-time world champion Sally Pilbeam (WA) kept her impressive record in tact against fellow Australian world championship medallist Kerryn Harvey while Jonathan Goerlach win the Vision Impaired men’s event from fellow Australian Gerrard Gosens and Italy’s Maurizio Romeo.

Another stand out performance came from  Queensland’s PTS5 athlete Josh Kassulke who was the first competitor across the line in another impressive performance he hopes will take him to the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020 in an all Aussie podium with Dale Grat second and Tony Scoleri third.

WA’s Rio Paralympian Brant Garvey (PTS2) also turned in a brilliant showing as did Albury Wodonga’s “Mr Fearless” Justin Godfrey in the in the PTS3.

Godfrey is the reigning World Cross Tri champion for his category and is a classic example of the kind of grit determination that spurs on Australia’s band of paratriathletes.

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USA Paratriathlon National Championships to Return to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, in June

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The 2018 USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Championships will be held in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon for the second consecutive year, USA Triathlon announced today. The race will take place on June 24 at Prairie Springs Park and the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex.

National titles will be up for grabs in six sports classes as athletes complete a 750-meter swim in Lake Andrea, a 20-kilometre bike through Pleasant Prairie and neighbouring Kenosha, and a 5-kilometre run course finishing in the park. The Pleasant Prairie Triathlon is put on by Race Day Events, LLC, which specializes in event production and equipment rental throughout the Midwest.

“With the support of a strong local paratriathlon community, the organizers of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon have celebrated athletes of all abilities for many years,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, Paratriathlon Program Senior Manager at USA Triathlon. “We look forward to returning to the beautiful venue of Prairie Springs Park this summer and once again enjoying the positive atmosphere that surrounds this race.”

“Race Day Events is very excited to be producing another National Championship event in Pleasant Prairie,” said Ryan Griessmeyer, President of Race Day Events and Race Director for the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon. “Pairing industry-leading event production with the Village of Pleasant Prairie’s world-class venue, participants are sure to have an unparalleled experience.”

“Pleasant Prairie is pleased to host the USA Paratriathlon National Championships for the second consecutive year as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon,” said Sandy Wiedmeyer, Fitness Manager at the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex. “This is such an inspirational event to be a part of. Watching these exceptional athletes brings so much to the event and is the highlight of the weekend for many. We are grateful to be able to host such amazing talent again this year, and we look forward to making 2018 successful for all of the athletes.”

In addition to chasing national titles, athletes competing at Paratriathlon Nationals also have the opportunity to qualify for the USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program, which is designed to identify and develop athletic potential leading toward the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. More information on the USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program is available by clicking here.

The Pleasant Prairie Triathlon has included paratriathlon competition since its inception, but last year was its first time hosting the Paratriathlon National Championships. In 2017, 30 athletes competed for national titles while an additional 19 competed in the paratriathlon open division.

Athletes wishing to compete at Paratriathlon Nationals in 2018 must be officially classified in a paratriathlon sports class and must have completed a USA Triathlon or ITU Sanctioned Event that meets distance and time standards between May 1 and June 3, 2018. Athletes who are not classified or who do not meet the time standards may choose to race in the PC Open Division. A National Classification opportunity will be offered in Pleasant Prairie prior to the event. Complete details on qualification standards, as well as the link to register, are available at usatriathlon.org.

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News & Racing

Challenge Wanaka: Javier Gomez and Annabel Luxford crowned 2018 champions

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A thrilling day’s racing at Challenge Wanaka resulted in wins by Javier Gomez (ESP) and Annabel Luxford (AUS). Both had fierce battles with one of the deepest professional fields ever seen at a half distance triathlon in New Zealand and in tough conditions with four seasons in one day, from torrential rain and freezing temps to sweltering summer sun.

The men’s race may have seemed easy to call with Gomez headlining but it was anything but. The close nature of the race was evident as the men exited the swim in a tight bunch – Tony Dodds (NZL) and Dylan McNeice (NZL) first out in 23:12 with Gomez, Alexander Polizzi (AUS), Graham O’Grady (NZL) and Braden Currie all within nine seconds.

A quick transition by Currie saw him lead out on the bike but he had constant company from Gomez, McNeice and Dodds.  By 45km Dodds had dropped back and the chase group of Luke McKenzie (AUS), Joe Skipper (GBR), Jesse Thomas (USA), Dougal Allan (NZL) and Luke Bell (AUS) had closed the three-minute deficit by a minute. By 70km it was getting exciting with the top eight within 22 seconds of each other. Skipper made a short dash for the front but was soon reined back in, McNeice fell off the back but caught up. Coming into transition it still seemed like it was anyone’s race.

However, it was the run where Currie and Gomez showed their metal, soon breaking away with Currie holding off Gomez until the top of the infamous Gunn Road hill at 12km where Gomez made his move. He took out the win knocking nearly 20 minutes off Braden Currie’s six-year-old course record in 3:57:27. Currie crossed the line 17 seconds later in second, taking the New Zealand National title with the USA’s Jesse Thomas running his way into third in 3:59:33.

“Braden put a lot of pressure on me and I had to run way faster than expected but I was very happy with how my fitness is,” said Gomez. “I love bike courses like this that are really up and down. We did a good job at the front but in the last 15k some of the guys caught us, which made it really tough. But luckily I managed to pace myself enough at the beginning of the run so I had some energy left for the end, which I really needed. It was a really tough day; I had to give absolutely everything to win. I really enjoyed it, it was a great course and a great day and thanks everyone for the support out there.”

It was a fast day with Tony Dodds securing a new swim record in 23:12, Dougal Allan set a new bike course record in 2:11:28 and Gomez also set the run course record of 1:12:39, a blistering pace on a course which is 80% off road.
In the women’s race, Luxford led out of the water and soon put in a solid lead over the rest of her opponents as she headed out on Glendhu Bay leg of the bike. The only woman to challenge her was Laura Siddall (GBR) who consistently gained time on her from four-minutes back.  Siddall caught Luxford at the 70km mark and took the lead.

A quick transition put Luxford back ahead, which is where she stayed for the remainder of the race with a lead that fluctuated between 10 and 45 seconds. She won by the narrowest of margins  – 11 seconds after 113km of racing putting Siddall in second in 4:27:13 for the fourth consecutive year. Amelia Watkinson (NZL) rounded out the podium in third in 4:38:11 and took the title of New Zealand Middle Distance Triathlon Champion.

“I was lucky to have a good swim and felt great on the first half of the bike but was losing quite a bit of time to Laura,” said Luxford. “When she caught me I knew I had to race tactically. She’s an old hand at this course and I certainly wasn’t going to give her anything. On the run when she started closing on me at the end, I saw her full distance strength coming through but managed to hold her off.”

It was also a fast race in the women’s with Luxford setting the course record in 4:27:02 as well as the swim course record in 25:49 and the run record in 1:24:00. Siddall set the bike course record in 2:27:26.

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