Best of 2018: Top Moments

By USA Triathlon | Dec. 17, 2018, 2:37 p.m. (ET)

From launching an industry-wide participation growth initiative to placing three athletes in the top-10 of the overall ITU World Triathlon Series standings, the U.S. multisport community made incredible strides in 2018. Relive some of the best moments here, and check out the entire Best of 2018 Series at

January 26  — USA Triathlon and IRONMAN launch Time to Tri initiative

At the Triathlon Business International Conference in Tempe, Arizona, USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris and IRONMAN CEO Andrew Messick unveiled Time to Tri, an unprecedented industry-wide initiative to grow the sport of triathlon in the U.S. by supporting and inspiring beginners to complete their first race. Time to Tri provides training and racing advice at its online hub, The roll-out included a public pledge form for coaches, clubs, race directors, retailers and brand manufacturers to commit to supporting first-timers at the grassroots level. 

April 13-14 — Young stars and veterans alike shine at Duathlon National Championships

The Duathlon National Championships in Greenville, South Carolina, featured run-bike-run action in three disciplines over two days. In a display of up-and-coming talent, 15-year-old Cassidy Hickey and 16-year-old Makena Gates both cracked the overall podium in two different races — earning a victory and a third-place finish apiece. Multi-time national and world champion Kirsten Sass reached the overall podium in all three races, while Aimee Phillippi-Taylor, Alex Arman and Taylor Huseman were also victorious on the weekend.

April 28 — U.S. Naval Academy unseats University of Colorado, wins overall USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships title

The U.S. Naval Academy earned its first overall club title since 2009 at the Collegiate Club National Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. With the win, Navy successfully broke the University of Colorado’s eight-year win streak at Collegiate Club Nationals. The Navy Midshipmen also earned the men’s club title, while the University of California, Berkeley claimed top honors for the women.

May 22 — USA Triathlon unveils Legacy Triathlon to be held annually in Long Beach
USA Triathlon, in partnership with the City of Long Beach, announced plans for the Legacy Triathlon — a new event to be held in Long Beach, California, starting July 20, 2019. The race will be held at Alamitos Beach, near the proposed site of the triathlon competitions for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is the first U.S. National Governing Body to bring an event to its own 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games footprint.

June 7 — Team USA wins ITU Mixed Relay Series opener in Nottingham
The U.S. team of Kirsten Kasper, Eli Hemming, Katie Zaferes and Matt McElroy raced to a gold medal at the first stop of the inaugural ITU World Mixed Relay Series in Nottingham, England, as McElroy broke the tape nearly 30 seconds ahead of his closest competitor. Team USA would go on to earn bronze at the ITU Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, and silver at the final stop of the series in Edmonton, Alberta. 

July 6-14 — U.S. age-group athletes earn 36 world titles at Fyn ITU Multisport World Championships

Team USA performed well at the second annual ITU Multisport World Championship in Fyn, Denmark, earning 83 total medals — including 26 gold, 21 silver and 26 bronze. The week-long event featured world championships in sprint- and standard-distance duathlon, cross triathlon, aquabike, long-distance triathlon and aquabike. 

July 16-22 — Multisport community celebrates second annual National Triathlon Week
The second annual National Triathlon Week, launched by USA Triathlon to celebrate multisport and all its constituency groups, was held in July with thousands of athletes participating on social media and in communities across the country. #TriWeek is a social media-based initiative designed to bring the multisport community together and expand the awareness and appeal of triathlon to mainstream audiences. 

Aug. 4-5 — Nearly 1,000 athletes ages 7-19 take part in USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships 
Up-and-coming junior and youth elite triathlon stars Gillian Cridge, Fielding Fischer, Cassidy Hickey and Andrew Flynn earned overall titles at the USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships, which were held in West Chester, Ohio, for the seventh consecutive year. The MMTT – Sammy’s Gold squad earned top honors in the youth and junior elite mixed relay event, while more than 700 young athletes of all abilities — including paratriathlete — crossed the finish line in the age-group open race. 

Aug. 9 — Four multisport legends inducted into USA Triathlon Hall of Fame
Four-time U.S. Olympian Hunter Kemper, age-group multisport stars Donna Smyers and James Ward, and Mike Reilly, the “Voice of IRONMAN”, were inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Cleveland ahead of the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. Kemper, the sole elite-athlete inductee, formally announced his retirement from professional triathlon as part of the ceremony.

Aug. 12 — Justin Lippert completes Age Group National Championships sweep

Justin Lippert, 22, swept the Olympic and sprint-distance men’s overall titles at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Cleveland on Aug. 11-12. He became the first man in history to sweep both distances at Age Group Nationals. He would go on to add the men's overall long-course triathlon national title to his 2018 resume in November in Miami. Lippert competes as part of the Queens University of Charlotte men’s triathlon team and is the founder of Full Send Triathlon.

Sept. 13 and 17 — U.S. age-group athletes collect 12 world titles and 33 podiums at ITU Age Group World Championships in Gold Coast
USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA hauled in 33 total medals at the ITU Age Group Triathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, in September. Todd Buckingham won his age group in both the sprint- and standard-distance races, and was the fastest overall amateur male in the standard-distance. Missy LeStrange and Sibyl Jacobson also earned age-group world titles in both distances. 

Sept. 14 — Taylor Knibb earns first ITU Under-23 World Championships title
Taylor Knibb executed a perfect race in Gold Coast to win the ITU Triathlon Under-23 World Championships, finishing more than a minute-and-a-half ahead of her closest competitor. Knibb, the 2016 and 2017 junior world champion, became only the third woman in ITU history to claim world titles at both the junior and U23 levels, joining U.S. teammate Tamara Gorman and Germany’s Laura Lindemann in the record books. 

Sept. 15 — Katie Zaferes earns 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series overall silver medal while three U.S. women place in WTS top-10

Katie Zaferes earned the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series silver medal, wrapping up a career-best season defined by consistency. With her bronze-medal finish at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, she closed the series ranked No. 2 behind only Great Britain’s Vicky Holland. Three U.S. women in total finished the series with top-10 rankings, including Kirsten Kasper (No. 4) and Taylor Spivey (No. 8).

Sept. 15 — Mark Barr and Allysa Seely cap undefeated seasons with ITU Paratriathlon world titles
Mark Barr and Allysa Seely rounded out their undefeated elite paratriathlon seasons on a high note in Gold Coast, earning gold medals at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships. U.S. paratriathletes earned five world championship medals overall, including a silver and two bronzes. Barr and Seely were victorious in every stop of the 2018 ITU World Paratriathlon Series, sweeping the three races in Yokohama, Japan; Iseo, Italy; and Edmonton, Canada; in addition to the world championships.

Sept. 21 — USA Triathlon earns U.S. Olympic Committee’s Diversity & Inclusion Choice Award, Dr. Patricia DeLaMora earns Jack Kelly Fair Play Award

The U.S. Olympic Committee honored USA Triathlon’s Paratriathlon Military Engagement Program as the recipient of its Diversity & Inclusion Choice Award, which annually recognizes an NGB or High Performance Management Organization (HPMO) for the creation of a single or a series of diversity and inclusion best practices. In addition, U.S. triathlete Dr. Patricia DeLaMora earned the USOC’s annual Jack Kelly Fair Play Award for a selfless act in which she paused her race at 2017 IRONMAN Santa Rosa to perform CRP on a fellow athlete, helping to save his life. Both honors were presented at the 2018 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly in Colorado Springs on Sept. 21.

Oct. 13 — Sarah True and Tim O’Donnell lead Americans on record-breaking day at IRONMAN World Championship

The 40th anniversary of the iconic IRONMAN race in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, was marked by Germany’s Patrick Lange (7:52:39) and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf (8:26:18) smashing course records, while Tim O’Donnell (8:03:17) and Sarah True (8:43:42) posted a pair of fourth-place finishes to lead the Americans on the storied course. Matthew Russell finished sixth in 8:04:41, in an act of redemption after a vehicle collision on the same course one year ago, and Andy Potts took eighth in 8:09:34. Linsey Corbin cracked the top-10 on the women’s side with a time of 8:58:57.

Oct. 30 — Hampton University becomes first HBCU to add women’s triathlon as a varsity sport
USA Triathlon and Hampton University held a press conference on Hampton’s campus to announce that the school will introduce women’s triathlon as a varsity sport starting in the fall of 2019, becoming the first historically black university to add women’s triathlon to its varsity sports portfolio. The program is made possible through a $225,000 grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation, which was reserved for the first HBCU that added the sport at the varsity level in a proactive effort to increase diversity in triathlon. 

Nov. 10-11 — Inaugural Multisport National Championships crown 114 age-group champions 
The first-ever USA Triathlon Multisport National Championships were held in Miami in conjunction with the Miami Man Triathlon. The schedule featured championship events in aquathlon (swim-run), long-course triathlon, long-course duathlon (run-bike-run), long-course aquabike (swim-bike) and international-distance aquabike (swim-bike). The weekend marked the first time all five races were held in the same venue at the same time — versus on different dates and locations across the country — as 114 age-group national champions were crowned.