Patricia Collins (Alexandria, Va.) won the female TRI-5 world title in Auckland, New Zealand.
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The United States ended the 2012 ITU World Championships on a high note, capturing a pair of world titles and 13 total medals at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championship on Monday.
Melissa Stockwell (TRI-2, Chicago, Ill.) and Patricia Collins (TRI-5, Alexandria, Va.) led the way for the Americans, winning their categories. The gold medal for Stockwell was her third consecutive win in the event, and the U.S. women swept the podium in the TRI-2 and TRI-5 categories.
"The girls were all strong , everyone was strong today," said Collins, who serves in the U.S. Army and competed in her first world championship. "Team USA did really awesome. This is still just surreal."
Team USA's 13 medals tops the overall medal count for the event. Great Britain was second with 9 overall medals.
In all, 31 U.S. paratriathletes competed Monday in the final race of the 2012 world championship weekend. The event featured 109 paratriathletes from 21 countries, the largest field for a paratriathlon world championship in the history of the event.
"It's actually a really strong field, and much deeper than the few guys we get at Ironman," said TRI-1 silver medalist Andre Kajlich (Seattle, Wash.), who won his division at the Ironman World Championship last weekend. "It means a lot to get a podium here; there's five or six guys here who could win, and you actually get to race."
Originally, the race was scheduled to be a 750-meter swim, but due to water temperature rules was cut to 300 meters, followed by the traditional 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. The change in the course didn't faze most of the athletes.
"We had a really great time," said Patricia Walsh (Austin, Texas), a two-time bronze medalist in the TRI-6 category. "We got to do some things we'd practiced but hadn't really done in a race, like standing up on the bike, which on a tandem is no small feat."
Paratriathlon will be part of the Paralympic program at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, and participation continues to grow. Stockwell, who was on the U.S. Paralympic swim team in 2008, looks forward to what the next four years will bring. "I hope the momentum continues to 2016," she said. "We need the people, and we need the competition."
Paratriathlon Worlds marks the close of the 2012 ITU World Championships, contested over four days in Auckland. Visit usatriathlon.org for coverage of all the events, including the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final.
2012 ITU Paratriathlon World Championship
Click here for complete results
300m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
United States Medalists
2. Andre Kajlich (Seattle, Wash.), 59:21
3. Geoffrey Kennedy (Rio Grande, P.R.), 1:00:33
1. Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.), 1:22:14
2. Hailey Danisewicz (Chicago, Ill.), 1:26:54
3. Jennifer Clark (Crowley, Texas), 1:34:23
3. Matt Perkins (Boise, Idaho), 1:11:19
2. Beth Price (Spanish Fort, Ala.), 1:24:45
2. David Kyle (Athens, Ala.), 1:04:04
1. Patricia Collins (Alexandria, Va.), 1:11:07
2. Danielle McLaughlin (Ramona, Calif.), 1:11:32
3. Allysa Seely (Tempe, Ariz.), 1:17:43
3. Jamie Brown (Carlsbad, Calif.), 1:02:02
3. Patricia Walsh (Austin, Texas), 1:05:15