COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today recognized Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.) and Mark Barr (Davis, Calif.) as its 2018 Elite Paratriathletes of the Year, after both went undefeated in the 2018 ITU World Paratriathlon Series and capped their seasons with world titles.
Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas) and Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.) were named Paratriathlon Development Athletes of the Year, after breakout seasons that saw them both reach the podium in elite ITU paratriathlon competition for the first time.
Seely earned gold medals in the women’s PTS2 category in all three stops of the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series: Yokohama, Japan; Iseo, Italy; and Edmonton, Alberta. She capped her season with a victory at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, marking her third career world title. Seely had the fastest run of the field in every race she started in 2018, extending a streak of race-leading run splits that dates back to September of 2016.
“It is so exciting to be recognized as an athlete of the year for USA Triathlon,” Seely said. “To be recognized for my hard work and success this past year is humbling.”
Barr also swept all three stops of the ITU World Paratriathlon Series, dominating the men’s PTS2 category throughout the season before claiming his first world title in Gold Coast. He also earned a gold medal at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships. Barr’s strength is his swim — he has been first out of the water in every race of his elite paratriathlon career, dating back to the fall of 2012.
“The 2018 season was a breakout year for me for sure. Going into the 2018 season, I had not only never been crowned world champion, but I had never won a single World Paratriathlon Series event, always coming up short with second- and third-place finishes,” Barr said. “Being named USA Triathlon's Athlete of the Year is such an honor. So many people have invested time and resources into helping me succeed — my coaches, sponsors and USA Paratriathlon, just to name a few — so I am happy to earn this award for them, to show them that their support has paid off with a great year of racing.”
Elmlinger had a remarkable rookie season, starting with a win in the women’s PTS4 division at the USA Paratriathlon National Championships in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin — only her second triathlon since becoming an amputee. She went on to place fifth at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, then ended her season with an ITU Paratriathlon World Cup gold medal in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida.
“Being honored by a sport I have loved and respected for a very long time is extremely humbling. Make no mistake, this isn’t a finish-line achievement for me, but a great benchmark knowing I am pushing myself in the right direction,” Elmlinger said. “I’d like to thank many members of my medical care team as well. This truly is a ‘team’ award, as so many have made my goals, their goals. I would not be successful in life, much less as an athlete, if I didn’t have an amazing medical team. They have supported my crazy dream of getting back into triathlons at a high level more than I can articulate.”
Snyder, a seven-time Paralympic medalist in swimming, made the full-time transition to paratriathlon in 2018 and had a strong debut season. He claimed bronze in the men’s PTVI category in his first elite race, the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships. He went on to place fifth at the ITU World Paratriathlon Series stop in Yokohama, just 14 seconds off the podium. He capped his rookie season with a fourth-place finish at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup.
“The paratriathlon community is made up of some of the most amazing and impressive people I’ve ever met, so it’s a huge honor to be recognized,’ Snyder said. “It’s been a lot of hard work to try and get up to speed in this new sport, and I know I have a long way to go still. For the tri community to recognize my efforts gives me a lot of encouragement and motivates me for what I know will be a very exciting 2019 season.”
The 2018 USA Triathlon Elite Paratriathlete of the Year selections are as follows:
Women’s Elite Paratriathlete of the Year: Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.)
Men’s Elite Paratriathlete of the Year: Mark Barr (Davis, Calif.)
Women’s Paratriathlon Development Athlete of the Year: Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas)
Men’s Paratriathlon Development Athlete of the Year: Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.)