A number of Bermuda age groupers and 16-19 elite juniors Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley will be joining Flora Duffy in Cozumel, Mexico for next week’s International Triathlon Union’s World Championships.
For Flora these championships will be the culmination of an outstanding season that exceeded her own expectations. The World Championships is an event in its own right but is also the final race in the ITU’s World Series. Flora is currently the leader in this series but, with double points awarded for the world championships, if Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen of the USA (currently 2nd in the rankings and a hot favorite to win in Cozumel ) wins in Cozumel then Flora will have to finish second to win the World Series.
Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley’s hard work has also paid off as they have both had excellent seasons including 7th place finishes last Sunday at the Edmonton race in the Canadian Junior Elite Series. However, the Junior Elite World Championships is another level altogether and if they manage to finish in the top 50% then that alone would be a great achievement, especially as they are still eligible to compete at this level in 2017. However, they both competed in the Junior Elite category in Chicago last year and had to qualify for these 2016 championships in the North and Central America region which was in itself a real achievement, so they wont be overawed by the occasion. Much will depend on how good their swims are as that will determine which group they are in on the bike. Their run times to date, whilst much improved, have not matched the leading contenders but if they got off the bike at or near the front then they have a good chance of a strong placing.
Seven age groupers will also be representing Bermuda including former Bermuda multiple times national champion and Commonwealth Games participant Karen Smith (women 45-49 age group) who will be competing in the Sprint (750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run) Championships. In recent years Karen has focused on longer distances and ofcourse won her age group in the Ironman World Championships. However, niggling foot injuries have hampered her training and racing and she is gradually working her way back into racing. Her form in recent weeks in the Thursday sprint series races (a number of which she has won) and Monday’s Labour Day triathlon (which she also won) suggest that she should place well in her age group, with a medal not out of the question.
Joining Karen in the Sprint Championships will be Kent Richardson ( 55-59). Kent has also been taking in some of the Thursday night sprint races and also showing good form (he won last week’s event) so, like Karen, I expect him to be a possible medal contender but certainly a top 10 contender.
For the first time, the Sprint Championships will be draft legal on the bike so it will be interesting to see how this decision affects the race. Safety will be a concern as not all triathletes are good bike handlers and although they might train with groups many of them do not race in groups at speed. Hopefully they will keep their line going into corners and not make crazy moves !!
In the Standard / Olympic distance championships (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run) Maria Duffy (W60-64) narrowly missed out on a top ten finish at last year’s World Championships and will be hoping to break into the top ten as in 2015 she finished 11th just 10 seconds out of 10th place and 13th seconds out of 9th place. Maria will be pleased to know that in the age group results for 2015 she is shown as being born in 1963 !
Joining Maria in the Standard Distance Championships will be :
Becci Shepherd ( W 40-44). – Becci was 53rd in this age group last year and 3rd in her age group this month in the Mont Blanc Triathlon.
Sarah Ruberry (W 40-44) was 76th in this age group last year had a podium finish this year at a Florida sprint series event.
Louise Wells (W 40-44) qualified for these championships with an excellent 4th place finish amongst the women and 11th overall at the XL Catlin National Championships. These championships took place in difficult hot conditions and Louise produced a very solid time of 2 hrs 37 mins 52 secs to qualify.
Steve Smith ( M40-44) also qualified having won the mens’ XL Catlin National Standard Distance Championships 2016 in 2hr 26 mins 47 secs. Steve completed his preparation for Cozumel with a good 2nd place finish in this week’s Labour Day Triathlon.
Race times – all times are Bermuda ( please note that Cozumel does not currently change its clocks back / forward for daylight savings so is two hours behind Bermuda even though Cozumel is listed as EST).
SPRINT DISTANCE AGE GROUP : THURSDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER AT 8.45AM
JUNIOR ELITE MEN : FRIDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER AT 5PM
JUNIOR ELITE WOMEN : FRIDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER AT 7PM
PROFESSIONAL ELITE WOMEN : SATURDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER AT 5.36PM
STANDARD DISTANCE AGE GROUP : SUNDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER AT 8.45AM
PRO ELITE MEN ( NO BDA ENTRIES) : SUNDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER AT 5.06PM
TO FOLLOW AND GET RESULTS GO HERE
GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF OUR BERMUDA ATHLETES