USA Triathlon News Articles Hunter Janus, Makena...

Hunter Janus, Makena Gates Crowned Overall Champions at Aquathlon National Championships in Austin

By USA Triathlon | Oct. 01, 2017, 5:42 p.m. (ET)

AUSTIN, Texas — Led by overall champions Hunter Janus (Lexington, S.C.) and Makena Gates (Canton, Ga.), 27 athletes were crowned age-group national champions on Sunday at the USA Triathlon Aquathlon National Championships in Austin. 

The race, held on a sunny day at Pure Austin Quarry Lake, featured a 3-kilometer run, 1,000-meter swim and another 3-kilometer run. Athletes raced in a time-trial format, with a run course circling the lake and a swim course that started with a dive off the dock. Nearly 300 athletes finished the course, an increase of 76 participants from 2016. 

It was a standout day for the youngest athletes, as both Janus and Gates earned 15-19 age group crowns in addition to their overall titles. Janus covered the course in 36 minutes, 45 seconds, and Gates crossed the line in 41:06. Paul Matthews was the first male athlete across the line, but was ineligible for awards as an elite.

Gates finished more than a minute ahead of her closest competitor, overall runner-up and women’s 15-19 silver medalist Rebecca Rivers (Elgin, Texas). 

“I thought it was a really nice course — the lake is really pretty, and there were turtles in the water,” Gates, who is 14 with a racing age of 15, said. “There were fast girls out there today. Rebecca Rivers and [fourth-place age-group finisher] Lauren Garriques (Lake Forest, Ill.) both do triathlons with me, so I know them from that.”

William Hartje (Neptune Beach, Fla.), took home the men’s 25-29 national title with a time of 36:51.

“The conditions were perfect. I really thought this was a great venue. The volunteers were great, and this whole race was very well organized.” Hartje said. “The competition was great across all age groups. There were people in each age group that were really competing the whole time. And I was a diver in college, so jumping off the dock was great.”

Kevin Simmons (Lake Mary, Fla.), earned the men’s 65-69 title in 50:11.

“It was absolutely spectacular. The Pure Austin people were wonderful, welcoming, the course was well-managed, the swim was to die for, and USA Triathlon put on a great show,” Simmons said. “In my age group, Sean Kelly (Mountain View, Calif.) was second behind me, and he came out of the [2016 ITU Aquathlon World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico] as the world champion. So Sean is always really, really fast. He’s a good guy to race with because he’s a better swimmer than me, so I really have to work the run. Top to bottom, there was a tremendous amount of speed here today.”

The top 18 finishers in each age group, rolling down to 25th place after applying the age-up rule, qualified to represent Team USA at the 2018 ITU Aquathlon World Championships. Aquathlon Worlds will be held as part of the 2018 ITU Multisport World Championships Festival from July 6-14 in Odense, Denmark. 

Sunday’s racing also featured a youth aquathlon as part of the USA Triathlon Splash and Dash Youth Aquathlon Series. In total, 37 youth athletes ages 7-15 participated in the event, and all finishers received a T-shirt and custom finishers’ medal. Athletes ages 7-10 completed a 100m swim and 1k run, while ages 11-15 completed a 200m swim and 2k run. For more information about the USA Triathlon Splash & Dash Series, visit

Click here for complete event information for the 2017 USA Triathlon Aquathlon National Championships.  

2017 USA Triathlon Aquathlon National Championships
National Champions — Complete Results

Male Overall:
Hunter Janus (Lexington, S.C.), 36:45
Female Overall: Makena Gates (Canton, Ga.), 41:06
M15-19: Hunter Janus (Lexington, S.C.), 36:45
F15-19: Makena Gates (Canton, Ga.), 41:06
M20-24: Brock Mone (Murrieta, Calif.), 43:33
F20-24: Caroline Lepesant (Altadena, Calif.), 42:28
M25-29: William Hartje (Neptune Beach, Fla.), 36:51
F25-29: Gillian Staudt (Bingham Farms, Mich,), 43:27
M30-34: Adam Goulet (Portland, Ore.), 39:16
F30-34: Amanda Huck (Arlington, Texas), 43:09
M35-39: Adrian Cameron (Austin, Texas), 38:51
F35-39: Sarah Newcomb-Baker (Kingston, Mass.), 44:04
M40-44: Shannon Horn (Post Falls, Idaho), 40:41
F40-44: Devon Bijansky (Austin, Texas), 52:08
M45-49: Jamie Cleveland (Austin, Texas), 39:47
F45-49: Jennifer Huffman (Oceanside, Calif.), 46:17
M50-54: David Balis (Plano, Texas), 39:39
F50-54: Katie McCully (Eastham, Mass.), 45:01
M55-59: Bobby Gonzales (El Paso, Texas), 41:01
F55-59: Sharon V Smith (Austin, Texas), 46:58
M60-64: Louis Almekinders (Chapel Hill, N.C.), 46:07
F60-64: Catharine Utzschneider (Chestnut Hill, Mass.), 50:19
M65-69: Kevin Simmons (Lake Mary, Fla.), 50:11
F65-69: Janet Buchanan (Encinitas, Calif.), 56:35
M70-74: Don Viviani (Arlington, Va.), 55:18
F70-74: Susan Thompson (Sugar Land, Texas), 1:04:27
M75-79: Arby Kitzman (Morro Bay, Calif.), 1:07:27
F75-79: Peggy McDowell-Cramer (Santa Monica, Calif.), 1:28:25
M80-84: Craig Kuglen (Austin, Texas), 1:26:22

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).