KALMAR, Sweden — Collegiate runner Avery Evenson made a medal-winning return to triathlon on Saturday, capturing the silver medal to lead the U.S. at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Triathlon Championship.
Evenson (Brighton, Mich.) covered the draft-legal, sprint-distance 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run course in 57 minutes, 17 seconds for silver. She finished only 6 seconds behind race winner Jeanne Lahair of France, who posted a final time of 57:11. Nina Eim of Germany was third in 57:22. Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.) was 26th with a time of 1:00:19.
Evenson stayed near the front of the field the entire race, posting the day’s fastest swim split of 9:26, though she was followed closely by Lehair, Mathilde Gautier of France and Leah Peploe of Great Britain. The front group was in close contact throughout the race, with Lehair slightly edging out the field with a 16:09 5k run split, tying for the fastest run split of the day. Evenson was well positioned for a podium finish and clocked a 16:11 run split to ensure her place in the final standings.
With Saturday’s silver medal performance, Evenson joins a trio of American women who have earned podium finishes in FISU World University Triathlon Championship events in the last decade. Kaitlin (Shiver) Donner picked up a bronze medal in 2014, leading the U.S. team to a team victory. Gwen Jorgensen, 2016 Olympic triathlon gold medalist, raced to a silver medal performance at the 2010 FISU World University Triathlon Championships, and Justine Whipple topped the field with gold in 2008.
In the men’s race, Lars Pfeifer of Germany took the top honors in a time of 51:40, followed closely by his teammate Gabriel Allgayer, who earned silver in 51:43. France’s Nathan Guerbeur was third in 51:52. Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) was the top U.S. finisher in eighth, posting a time of 52:27, while Collin Chartier (Fairfax, Va.) finished just 10 seconds back in 52:37 for 13th. John Felix (Hilton Head, S.C.) was 40th in 54:18 and Kevin Bishop (Los Altos, Calif.) was 73rd in 1:00:43.
Smith and Chartier were in the front group through most of the race, but the Americans were unable to match the run speed of the eventual podium finishers, who ran down the field in the final 5k with splits just over 14 minutes.
Evenson, Gorczyca, Smith and Chartier will combine forces on Sunday for the first-ever FISU World University Triathlon Championship Mixed Relay event. Each athlete will complete a 250m swim, 5k bike and 2k run before tagging the next teammate, alternating men and women, with the fastest combined time winning the race. The addition to the program will showcase the fast-paced, spectator-friendly race format ahead of its inclusion as a medal event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Complete results from the 2018 FISU World University Championship will be posted at triathlon.org when available.
2018 FISU World University Triathlon Championship
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
1. Jeanne Lahair (FRA), 57:11
2. Avery Evenson (Brighton, Mich.), 57:17
3. Nina Eim (GER), 57:22
2. Avery Evenson (Brighton, Mich.), 57:17
26. Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.), 1:00:19
1. Lars Pfeifer (GER), 51:40
2. Gabriel Allgayer (GER), 51:43
3. Nathan Guerbeur (FRA), 51:52
8. Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.), 52:27
13. Collin Chartier (Fairfax, Va.), 52:37
40. John Felix (Hilton Head, S.C.), 54:18
73. Kevin Bishop (Los Altos, Calif.), 1:00:43
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 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).