Battling wet weather and less than ideal racing conditions, Katie Zaferes and Kirsten Kasper placed second and third, respectively, at the ITU World Triathlon Series stop in Yokohama, Japan.
At the outset of the race, Kasper finished the swim in eighth place and Zaferes in 18th, and both found themselves leading the main chase pack during the bike. With several laps remaining, Zaferes crashed with Great Britain's Jess Learmonth and found herself 1:21 off the leaders, reigning world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda and Great Britain's Sophie Coldwell. But she battled her way back to the pack before the second transition, beginning the run in the hunt for third place.
The pack thinned out as the run wore on, with Zaferes, Kasper, Learmonth and Vicky Holland, also of Great Britain, fighting for third place. Zaferes and Kasper broke away as Coldwell began to falloff the lead, leaving Duffy ahead by 51 seconds. Zaferes dropped into fourth place after going back to retrieve a dropped pair of sunglasses, and it was Kasper that overtook Coldwell first. But Zaferes came up strong, passing both Kasper and Coldwell in the final stretch to take a hard-earned second place in 1:58:09 behind Duffy's 1:56:18. Kasper rounded out the podium in third in 1:58:17. Duffy's 1:51 margin of victory is the largest in ITU history, surpassing the previous mark of 1:42.
Her second-place finish continues a strong start to the season for Zaferes. She won the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup in April before earning top-10 finishes in the first World Triathlon Series events of the season; seventh in Abu Dhabi and fourth in Gold Coast, Australia. She made her Olympic debut at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, where she finished 18th. Between March and May of 2015, Zaferes reached the podium in five consecutive World Triathlon Series events, and she won her first in Hamburg in 2016. Her finish in Yokohama moves her into first place in the WTS standings, overtaking New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt.
For Kasper, her third place in Yokohama is the best of her career thus far and her first time on the WTS podium. She placed third at the Chengdu ITU Triathlon World Cup the week prior, but her previous high finish at a World Triathlon Series event was fifth place in Cape Town, South Africa in April of 2016.