GOLD COAST, Australia — Eleven up-and-coming U.S. triathlon stars will compete next Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the ITU Under-23 and Junior Triathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, led by defending U23 world champion Tamara Gorman.
The U23 athletes will compete on an Olympic-distance 1,500-meter swim, 38-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run course, while the junior athletes will race a sprint-distance 750m swim, 19k bike and 5k run. Both races follow a multi-lap, draft-legal format. The U23 women are set to race on Friday, Sept. 14, at 10 a.m. local time (Thursday at 8 p.m. ET), followed by the U23 men on Friday at 12:45 p.m. local time (Thursday at 10:45 p.m. ET).
The juniors take the stage on Saturday, Sept. 15, with the women racing at 11:30 a.m. local time (Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET) and the men at 1:15 p.m. local time (Friday at 11:15 p.m. ET).
On Sunday, Sept. 16, at 1:15 p.m. local time (Friday at 11:15 p.m. ET), U23 and junior athletes will compete together in a mixed relay event. Teams are comprised of two women and two men from the same country. In the mixed relay format, each athlete completes a 250m swim, 7k bike and 1.5k run before passing off to the next teammate, with the fastest combined time winning the race. The fast-paced, spectator-friendly discipline will debut as a medal event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Team selections for the mixed relay will be made Saturday night, and start lists will be posted at triathlon.org.
The last time the U23 and junior mixed relay was held as part of Grand Final week was in 2016 in Cozumel, Mexico, when the U.S. team of Kyleigh Spearing (Frankfort, Ill.), Graham Pimentel (Naples, Fla.), Knibb and Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.) took fourth place.
A free finish-line livestream for all U23 and junior races, including the relay, will be available at triathlonlive.tv/goldcoast. Fans can also follow the action live on Twitter at @TriathlonLive.
Headlining the women’s U23 field is Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), who claimed the world title in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, last year in rainy and challenging conditions. Gorman has excelled on the international stage since that victory, claiming ITU Triathlon World Cup silver medals in Salinas, Ecuador, last October and Chengdu, China, in May.
Joining Gorman on the U23 start list is Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), who earned back-to-back ITU Junior World Championship titles in 2016 and 2017. Knibb has been on the podium in the highest level of elite ITU competition — the ITU World Triathlon Series — taking silver in Edmonton, Canada, last year. Her success has continued in 2018, as she earned silver at the Lausanne ITU Triathlon World Cup last month.
Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.) will also represent the U.S. in the women’s U23 race. Ackerlund earned three consecutive CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup podiums earlier this season and cracked the top-five in an ITU Triathlon World Cup for the first time in June in Huatulco, Mexico.
Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.) and Alec Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif.) make up the U.S. men’s contingent for U23 Worlds. Rider has had a breakthrough season at the senior elite level, helping Team USA to silver at the ITU World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series stop in Edmonton in July and earning a career-best sixth-place finish at the Antwerp ITU Triathlon World Cup in June.
Wilimovsky’s season to date has included a sixth-place finish in the U23 field at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon North American Championships in March, and an eighth-place showing at an ETU Triathlon European Cup in Dnipro, Ukraine, in June.
Leading the U.S. junior women is Gillian Cridge (Indianapolis, Ind.), this year’s USA Triathlon junior elite and high school national champion. Cridge has reached the podium twice in junior CAMTRI events this season and currently tops the USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Rankings leaderboard.
Paige Horner (Grimes, Iowa) will race in her second ITU Junior World Championships after placing 34th in Rotterdam last year. The third-place finisher at August’s Junior Elite National Championships, Horner has cracked the top-five in two junior CAMTRI races this season.
Rounding out the junior women’s contingent is Audrey Ernst (South Elgin, Ill.). Ernst claimed bronze at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI Junior North American Championships in March, was fourth at the Brasilia CAMTRI Triathlon American Championships in June, and took fourth at Junior Elite Nationals.
Fielding Fischer (Chevy, Chase, Md.), who earned the men’s junior elite national title last month, will represent the U.S. in the junior men’s race. He is relatively new to international competition, with his best finish to date being 21st at the 2017 CAMTRI Junior American Championships in Magog, Canada. Still, his consistency on the national stage has paid off, as he is currently third in the USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Rankings.
Joining Fischer is Luis Ortiz (Orlando, Fla.), the runner-up at Junior Elite Nationals. Ortiz is currently leading the USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Rankings. He was the top U.S. male at the Brasilia CAMTRI Junior American Championships in June, and claimed silver at the 2017 USA Triathlon High School National Championships.
Also competing for the junior men is Davis Bove (Franklin, Tenn.). Bove’s season to date has included a fourth-place finish at the CAMTRI Junior North American Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, a sixth-place finish at Junior Elite Nationals and a third-place finish at the Pleasant Prairie Junior Elite Cup in June.
For complete start lists for all races, visit triathlon.org.
The ITU U23 and Junior World Championships are part of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final taking place in Gold Coast from Sept. 12-16. The Grand Final marks the culmination of the ITU World Triathlon Series by crowning the men’s and women’s elite world champions, while also featuring world championship events for U23s, juniors, elite paratriathletes and age-group athletes. Visit usatriathlon.org for full coverage of each race.
Complete event schedules, course maps and information about the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final is available at goldcoast.triathlon.org.
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).