SARASOTA, Fla. — Three U.S. paratriathletes collected gold medals Sunday morning at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup, an elite race held as part of the two-day Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon Festival at Nathan Benderson Park. U.S. athletes earned nine total medals on the day, standing out among a field of competitors from 17 countries.
The race was shifted from a triathlon (swim-bike-run) to a duathlon (run-bike-run) after heightened algae levels in the lake due to recent weather conditions forced a cancellation of the swim leg. The adjusted course featured a 2.5-kilometer run, 18.3-kilometer bike and another 5-kilometer run.
Elizabeth Baker (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) claimed the win in the women’s PTVI class, crossing the line with a time of 1 hour, 7 minutes, 12 seconds. It was a close finish with U.S. teammate Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif.), who took silver in 1:07:40. Completing the all-American podium was Eliza Cooper (New York, N.Y.) in 1:10:23.
“I’m proud of the race. I had nothing left,” Baker said. “Amy gave me a run for my money on that one. And it was fun having Eliza, a great newbie, in the race. It’s just really nice to see the sport growing and people getting faster, and newbies coming in in the United States.”
Kyle Coon (Carbondale, Colo.) collected his first international paratriathlon medal with a silver in the men’s PTVI division. Coon’s time of 58:47 was less than a minute behind the division winner, Yuichi Takahashi of Japan. Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.) was just 33 seconds off the podium for the PTVI men, finishing fourth in 1:00:28.
Adam Popp (Arlington, Va.) stormed to the win in the men’s PTS2 division with a time of 1:15:05. While Popp earned two ITU World Cup medals last season, including a bronze here in Sarasota, Sunday’s race marked his first gold. Cahin Perez (Christiana, Tenn.) also reached the podium for the PTS2 men, taking bronze with a time of 1:22:57.
“This was a good capper to the season,” Popp said. “It went well, and it was an improvement from last year. I’m happy with my first win on the ITU circuit.”
In the women’s PTS4 category, Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas) grabbed her first international paratriathlon victory in 1:14:46. Joining Elmlinger on the podium was Kelly Worrell (Cherry Hill, N.J.), who earned silver in 1:24:25.
“It’s surreal. I’ve wanted to be in this spot in paratriathlon for many, many years, so to finally be here, there are still times when I’m like, 'Wow, this is happening,’” Elmlinger said. “I’m super proud of my teammates. There was a lot of encouragement out there, so that was super exciting — not only to encourage others, but also to receive it.”
The women’s PTWC race saw Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.) earn silver with a time of 1:02:00 — just 16 seconds behind Brazilian gold medalist Jessica Ferreira.
Gretsch won two gold medals in Nordic skiing at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in March. She returned to paratriathlon racing in June, winning the USA Paratriathlon National Championships and an ITU World Cup in Magog, Canada, prior to her runner-up performance in Sarasota. She now sets her sights on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, where the women’s wheelchair division will be contested as a paratriathlon medal event for the first time.
“I think it’s definitely motivating having had that (Paralympic Games) experience already, and I think mentally I’m a little more prepared on what the work is going to look like going into Tokyo,” Gretsch said. “I’m excited to be able to have the chance to compete in Tokyo, since this will be the first time our class is in the Paralympics in triathlon.”
Additional U.S. finishers included Howie Sanborn (Denver, Colo.) and Nathan DeWalt (Tampa, Fla.), fourth and fifth respectively in the men’s PTWC division; Maikol Monsalve (Miami, Fla.), fourth in the men’s PTS2 division; Joel Rosinbum (Austin, Texas) and Adam Warden (Maple Plain, Minn.), fourth and eighth respectively in the men’s PTS4 division; Dan St. Pierre (Frankfort, Ill.), seventh in the men’s PTS5 division; John Chan (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Brandon Adame (Houston, Texas), 10th and 12th respectively in the men’s PTVI division; and Rachel Weeks (Bradenton, Fla.), fourth in the women’s PTVI division.
The ITU Paratriathlon World Cup circuit makes its last stop of the season on Oct. 28 in Funchal, Portugal.
Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup
2.5k run, 18.3k bike, 5k run | Complete Results
2. Kendall Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.), 1:02:00
4. Howie Sanborn (Denver, Colo.), 1:00:19
5. Nathan DeWalt (Tampa, Fla.), 1:04:09
1. Adam Popp (Arlington, Va.), 1:15:05
3. Cahin Perez (Christiana, Tenn.), 1:22:57
4. Maikol Monsalve (Miami, Fla.), 1:47:39
4. Joel Rosinbum (Austin, Texas), 1:05:01
8. Adam Warden (Maple Plain, Minn.), 1:23:29
1. Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas), 1:14:46
2. Kelly Worrell (Cherry Hill, N.J.), 1:24:25
7. Dan St. Pierre (Frankfort, Ill.), 1:12:24
2. Kyle Coon (Carbondale, Colo.), 58:47
4. Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.), 1:00:28
10. John Chan (Staten Island, N.Y.), 1:08:43
12. Brandon Adame (Houston, Texas), 1:16:23
1. Elizabeth Baker (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), 1:07:12
2. Amy Dixon (Encinitas, Calif.), 1:07:40
3. Eliza Cooper (New York, N.Y.), 1:10:23
4. Rachel Weeks (Bradenton, Fla.), 1:23:03
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 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — 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).