Tamara Gorman Wins Gold at ITU U23 Triathlon World Championships

By USA Triathlon | Sept. 16, 2017, 4:22 a.m. (ET)

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) will be bringing home a gold medal from the ITU Under-23 Triathlon World Championships in Rotterdam, as she raced to victory here on a cold and wet Olympic-distance course on Saturday.

Gorman took the title on the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 21 seconds, followed by Melanie Santos of Portugal (2:05:37) in second and Sophie Coldwell of Great Britain (2:05:51) in third.

After a strong top-five swim, Gorman caught on with a lead group of 13 women on the bike. That pack stayed together for the entirety of the 40k course, even as a large chase group tried to reel them in. By the end of the bike, the 13 women had nearly a minute and a half on the first chasers and several minutes on other groups trailing behind them. 

It was Gorman’s time to shine on the run, as she pulled away on the first of four laps and maintained her lead through the finish line. Coldwell was right on Gorman’s heels through the halfway mark, then faded to third as Santos picked up the pace in the final 5k. Neither could overtake Gorman, though, as the American broke the tape and collected her first U23 world title.

“I feel so thankful, I can even believe that I won this race,” Gorman said. “I took a year off triathlon to focus on running, and this is my first summer back. I really wasn’t expecting that. The bike course was a little tricky with all the turns, but once I got onto the run I just felt wonderful.”

Gorman earned several accolades during her time racing at the junior level, including a gold from the 2013 Junior World Championships in London, a bronze from the 2012 Junior World Championships in Auckland, a 2014 junior national title and a 2015 junior national silver medal. She was the runner-up at U23 Nationals this year, finishing second to yesterday’s junior world champion Taylor Knibb.

Jenny Weber, Gorman’s coach since 2010, said challenging conditions like Saturday’s often prove to be an advantage for Gorman.

“This one might be the sweetest one yet, totally unexpected,” Weber said. “To see Tamara achieve this with so much passion and conviction — it’s such an overwhelming feeling that I have for her happiness. I think everybody here that’s racing has a lot of grit, but speaking from experience coaching Tamara, she doesn’t let things get to her. She just accepts the conditions, and she always has. I don’t think she’s ever won a big title without it being really adverse conditions.”

Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.) also represented the U.S. at U23 Worlds, placing 38th in 2:18:07. Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.) also competed for Team USA, but had to pull out of the race during the bike due to a mechanical issue.

Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.) led the American effort at this morning’s ITU Junior World Championships, finishing 12th overall. The junior athletes covered a sprint-distance 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run, and rainy conditions made for a technical and challenging course. 

McQueen, the 2017 USA Triathlon Junior Nationals silver medalist, was the first American out of the water in 9:07. Though he was 11 seconds back from lead swimmers Matthew Hauser of Australia and Aiden Longcroft-Harris of Canada, the entire field was exiting the swim one right after another in a large pack. With a quick transition, McQueen was able to join with a lead pack of about 12 on the bike. 

The leaders gradually built about a minute’s gap on a large chase group, which included 2017 USA Triathlon junior national champion Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) and defending junior world champion Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.). By the time they hit transition two, the lead group had thinned to eight — but McQueen was still in the mix. 

The podium spots would be earned on the run, as Hauser pulled into the lead over the two-lap, 5k course. By the time he broke the tape in 55:54, the Australian had a gap of nearly 30 seconds on his closest competitor. Vasco Vilaça of Portugal would come in second in 56:22, and Great Britain’s Ben Djikstra rounded out the podium in third in 56:35.

Though he lost some ground on a few coming from the chase pack, McQueen’s 16:40 5k was enough to earn him a top-15 finish at his first Junior Worlds. McQueen was 12th overall, coming through the finish chute with a time of 57:19. 

“My goal coming in was to execute a good race plan — I wanted to swim well, I wanted to bike in the lead pack and I wanted to run as fast as I could. I just wanted to be in contention, so I’m pretty happy with it,” McQueen said. “It means everything to be here. As a 19-year-old, missing out last year, it gave me a lot of motivation to come back. My coach Steve Brandes and I trained really hard. This was the goal all season, so to come here and race well definitely feels good.”

Smith was the second American across the line in 19th (57:44), and Hindman was less than 30 seconds behind him in 29th (58:06). 

Complete event information for all races at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam are available at rotterdam.triathlon.org. For coverage of all U.S. performances, visit usatriathlon.org.

ITU U23 World Championships
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run

U23 Women – Complete Results

1. Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), 2:05:21
2. Melanie Santos (POR), 2:05:37
3. Sophie Coldwell (GBR), 2:05:51

U.S. Finishers

1. Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), 2:05:21
38. Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.), 2:18:07
Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.), DNF

ITU Junior World Championships
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run

Junior Men – Complete Results

1. Matthew Hauser (AUS), 55:54
2. Vasco Vilaça (POR), 56:22
3. Ben Dijkstra (GBR), 56:35

U.S. Finishers
12. Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.), 57:19
19. Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.), 57:44
29. Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.), 58:06

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).