The race to qualify for the $1,500,000 Collins Cup is well and truly on. Eight athletes for each team, four men and four women, will automatically qualify and four, two men and two women, will be Captain’s Picks. Every race will be an opportunity to seize valuable points and secure a place on Team USA, Team Internationals or Team Europe.
This weekend at Challenge Shepparton we will see Team Internationals #4 Ellie Salthouse continue her titanic battle with Team Internationals #5 Amelia Watkinson for that coveted last automatic fourth spot on Team Internationals, while 14,000 kilometres away at IM 70.3 Texas, Team Internationals #3 Sarah Crowley will be trying to maintain her place against the hard charging Salthouse and Watkinson. Also in Texas, Sam Appleton, Team Internationals #4, will want to shore up his fourth automatic spot, while Internationals Team #10 Jeanni Metzler will be looking to claim her own place with a strong performance in her first race of the year.
IM 70.3 Texas sees many of the top ranked USA athletes at the start line to do battle for a place on Team USA. For the men, Team USA #2 Matt Hanson will be looking to defend his spot, while Team USA #4 Sam Long and Team USA #6 Ben Kanute will also try to secure one of the automatic qualification places, or at least impress Team USA Captains Mark Allen and Karen Smyers with a view for a Captains Pick. For the USA women, you can expect fierce racing and big moves from Team USA #4 Skye Moench, Team USA #5 Jackie Herring and Team USA #7 Heather Jackson. The USA women’s team is particularly fluid as the top three women, Jocelyn McCauley, Chelsea Sodaro and Sarah Piampiano are on maternity leave but can still qualify if they return to action before the August 9th cut-off date.
Team Europe #5 Joe Skipper and #8 Andreas Dreitz will be racing in Texas with a view to moving into the top four qualifying slots of a powerful European squad or catching the eye of legendary Captains, Normann Stadler and Chrissie Wellington for a Captain’s Pick.