Knibb, Hemming Earn Victories and Under-23 National Titles at West Des Moines CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup

By USA Triathlon | July 09, 2017, 4:10 p.m. (ET)

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.) and Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) won the women’s and men’s races, respectively, at the West Des Moines CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup on Sunday, which also served as the USA Triathlon Under-23 National Championships. 

To compete as a U23, athletes must be between the ages of 18 and 23 as of Dec. 31 of the competition year and must hold a USA Triathlon Elite License. With their victories, Knibb and Hemming earned the right to represent Team USA at the ITU U23 World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands, set for Sept. 15 (men) and 16 (women).

Sunday’s races took place at Raccoon River Park, a 631-acre park alongside Blue Heron Lake. Athletes raced over a sprint-distance course covering a 750-meter swim; four-lap, 20-kilometer bike; and two-lap, 5-kilometer run.

In the women’s race, Knibb exited the water with the lead pack alongside Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), Kyleigh Spearing (Frankfort, Ill.), Elise Bolger of Canada and Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.). Knibb made a solo breakaway early on the bike, recording a race-leading 31:14 bike split. As she headed onto the 5k run, she had built a gap of nearly a minute on the rest of the field. 

Knibb continued to race solo through the rest of the run, breaking the tape in 1 hour, 43 seconds. Gorman crossed second in 1:01:26, and Dominika Jamnicky of Canada was third overall 1:01:38. Ackerlund, placing fourth overall, took the third spot on the U23 Nationals podium in 1:02:17. 

Athletes were faced with afternoon temperatures in the mid-90s – but Knibb, who last year won the ITU Junior World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico, didn’t let the heat faze her.

“Everyone had to deal with the conditions. It felt a bit like Cozumel, but it was nice,” Knibb said. “Thank you to [USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Coordinator] Craig Hanken and [Z3 High Performance Triathlon Team Head Coach] Jenny Weber for hosting this wonderful event.”

In the men’s race, Hemming was among eight athletes to complete the 750m swim in under nine minutes. He kept with the lead pack on the bike, then headed into a breakaway on the first lap of the run with Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.) and Michael Lori of Canada.

“Most of [the race strategy] was just to survive, because it was just unbelievably hot,” Hemming said. “Michael went out and just paced the entire first lap and a half. Then Tony took off, and I did all I could to stay with him. I knew the Worlds spot and U23 Nationals were on the line, so I had a little bit extra there to kick it in.”

Hemming held on for the win in 56:18, with Smoragiewicz eight seconds behind in 56:26. Lori rounded out the overall podium in 56:52. Tyson Wieland (Dallas Center, Iowa), was the third U23 athlete across the line in 59:04, placing 12th in the overall field.

The racing action on Sunday also included Youth Elite and Junior Elite Cups, which served as the final qualification events for the USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships from Aug. 5-6 in West Chester, Ohio. For complete results from the youth elite and junior elite races, visit flatlandtri.com.

For more information about the USA Triathlon U23 Development Program, visit usatriathlon.org.

West Des Moines CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup and USA Triathlon U23 National Championships
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run

Overall Women – Complete Results

1. Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 1:00:43
2. Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), 1:01:26
3. Dominika Jamnicky (CAN), 1:01:38
4. Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.), 1:02:17
5. Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.), 1:02:41

U23 National Championships
1. Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 1:00:43
2. Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), 1:01:26
3. Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.), 1:02:17

Overall Men – Complete Results 

1. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 56:18
2. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), 56:26
3. Michael Lori (CAN), 56:52
4. Gaspar Riveros (CHI), 57:18
5. John Rasmussen (CAN), 57:28

U23 National Championships
1. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 56:18
2. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), 56:26
3. Tyson Wieland (Dallas Center, Iowa), 59:04

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).