Erica Hawley has got her collegiate triathlon career off to a flying start at the University of Boulder, Colrado. Erica raced for the university raced in the USA Triathlon draft legal collegiate regional sprint triathlon just outside Boulder on Sunday (25th September) and took 1st place with her team also winning the collegiate trophy.
Erica came out of the 750 meter swim in th lead in 10 min 54 secs with Liberty Ricca.The two of them opened up a big gap over the chasers coming into transitions over 3 minutes ahead. Erica posted a time of 33:38 for the 20km bike entering transition some 15 secs ahead of Ricca. Erica then showed her experience racing in the draft legal format as she gained a further 12 seconds on Ricca in T2. She then ran the 2nd fastest 5km run split of the day, 20:25 , to fonish in 1 hr 6 mins 25 secs, 40 seconds ahead of Ricca .
Erica’s win comes soon after the news that she has been offered an amazing opportunity to work with a new coach, Ian O’Brien, in Boulder/Colorado Springs. Erica and her parents acknowledged the fantastic work done by Canadian coach Kelly Guest to get Erica to the junior elite level but with Erica based in Boulder they felt that she could not turn down this opportunity.
The coaching company founded by O’Brien, ORIGIN Performance, is one of the leading coaching organisations in Boulder. O’Brien is originally from the UK and is also a consultant working with USA Triathlon. Erica’s new team consists of top level triathletes racing for the USA at U23/Elite and Junior Elite level including junior sensation Taylor Knibb who, as the defending champion, easily won the junior elite World Championships in Cozumel and was 2nd to Flora Duffy in the Montreal World Cup Triathlon just before the Olympics. O’Brien asked Erica onto the team when he heard she was in Boulder ( he had known her from a USA Junior camp a few years ago where he had done some coaching). Here is what he wrote to the Hawleys….
“I cannot wait to see where we can take her. She is a great person and athlete. I really focus on coaching good people first then everything else comes later. so I am really looking forward to working with Erica! I will also ensure she gets to the next level with complete consideration for her academic load. There will be opportunities to be analyzed by some of the Olympic sports scientists here at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I use as many specialists as possible to ensure ultimate performance progression, as I have with Taylor Knibb and all my elite athletes Its going to be an epic first year and then a continuous developmental pathway. My ultimate focus is 2020. I really want Erica to progress through the elite ranks and racing circuits effectively over the next few years, gradually building success and doing it right. It’s going to be great to see her develop as an athlete and as a person!Thanks for allowing me to coach her. It is going to be my pleasure.”
Apologies for the delay in publishing ; I was travelling !
5 Bermuda triathletes represented Bermuda at the ITU Age Group World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico over the standard distance of 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run.
Steve Smith was 32nd in the Men’s 40 – 44 Age Group in 2:13.41.
Becci Shepard was 37th in the 40-44 age group in a time of 2:33:28, while Louise Wells (2:42:06) was 49th and Sarah Ruberry (2:56:15) was 61st in the same age group
Maria Duffy finished 18th in the Women’s 60 – 64 Age Group in 3:27:54.
For full results in each age group and to see the Bermuda finishers split times go HERE
From reading the reporting on Flora Duffy’s performance in Cozumel, it seems that there is some confusion as to what exactly Flora achieved. The emphasis has been mostly on winning the World (points) Series, in itself a great achievement. However, winning the Grand Final is at least equal to winning the World Series.
The Grand Final in the ITU World Series is UNOFFICIALLY considered to be the World Championships of triathlon even though it is now referred to as the Grand Final. There is as much prestige attached to winning the Grand Final, or even more prestige, as to winning the World Series as the entry list for the Grand Final ( except sometimes in an Olympic year when one or two medal winners might not compete ) invariable consists of all of the best triathletes in the world. The world’s best triathletes do not attend all of the remaining World Series events as they tend to pick and choose which races they participate in according to their race schedules.
For example, Alistair Brownlee, the mens’ Olympic gold medallist in 2012 and 2016, does not compete in many World Series events as he chooses to focus on the Grand Final, and the Olympics in an Olympic year, presumably as he sees it as a bigger goal than the World Series as it attracts all of the world’s best.
The reporting has not really been clear that the Grand Final is effectively the World Championships of triathlon. It is a shame that it is referred to as the Grand Final and not the World Championships.
To be clear, the 2016 Grand Final in Cozumel was the strongest field assembled in triathlon in 2016, even stronger than the Olympics as the Olympics only allows a certain number of triathletes to compete for their country. So, for example, Jodie Stimpson of the UK (final World Series ranking 7th) and Summer Cook of the USA ( final ranking 19th and winner of the Edmonton World Series event) were not at the Olympics but did participate in Cozumel. Charlotte McShane of Australia, who won bronze in Cozumel in the Grand Final, was not on the Australian team at the Olympics.
Flora Duffy went a long way today to put the disappointment of the Olympics behind her as she produced another astonishing display to destroy the field at the Triathlon World Championships.
Flora got the perfect start as she exited the water with the British pair of Lucy Hall and Jessica Learmoth, two renowned cyclists with whom she made a break when winning the ITU World Series race in Stockholm. In that race the British pair received instructions not to assist Flora but this time they did just enough of the work to make the difference and gradually they opened up over a minute lead on a chasing group of twelve that included Olympic gold medallist and pre race favorite Gwen Jorgensen of the USA. Going into transition the lead was around 1 minute 10 secs and with very hot conditions the money was on Jorgensen once again reeling in Flora. It soon became clear however that Jorgensen was not closing the gap on Flora at all, despite moving into 2nd place.
As the 10km run went on and Flora got the splits showing that Jorgensen would not catch her , she kept her pace and it soon also became clear that barring a melt down the gold medal and World Series title was hers. There was no meltdown as Flora posted a faster run split to win by over 1 minute 30 secs.
Flora’s performance, where she once again led from start to finish in brutal conditions, will rank as one of the greatest performances in triathlon. Flora now becomes the only woman to have won both the road and off road triathlon world championships.
As a young girl Flora showed the drive and ambition to one day be on top of this podium and after so many ups and down since she first turned professional, this win will be all the sweeter.
I recall when Flora finished 18th in Canada in the Quebec Provincial Championships as a junior just before heading off to school in the UK. She was disraught and told me that she didn’t think she could be good enough. I told her at the time that I knew she had it in her to be the best and she has proved me right. Charlie and Maria, who have done so much to help her get to this point, deserve so much credit as do all of those in Bermuda and abroad who have worked to help Flora achieve her dream. Bermuda is so proud of Flora, not just for her astonishing achievement but for the way she has represented Bermuda in such a classy manner and shown the world that it is the best swim, bike and runner, not just runner, who is the best triathlete in the world ; and her name is Flora Duffy !!