COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Katie Zaferes will go for her third consecutive ITU World Triathlon Series victory this Friday in Yokohama, Japan, after winning the first two stops of the 2019 series in Abu Dhabi and Bermuda. Meanwhile, Allysa Seely looks to continue an ITU World Paratriathlon Series win streak that dates back to last year’s race in Yokohama. A total of 21 U.S. athletes are set to compete between the WTS and WPS races.
The WTS race features an Olympic-distance 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 1-kilometer run centered around Yamashita Park. The elite women race Friday at 9:16 p.m. ET (10:16 a.m. Saturday local time), and the elite men follow Saturday at 12:06 a.m. ET (1:06 p.m. Saturday local time). The WPS race covers a sprint-distance 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run. The first wave of paratriathletes are set to start on Friday at 5:50 p.m. ET (6:50 a.m. Saturday local time).
Both the WTS and WPS races will be broadcast live online at triathlonlive.tv, with monthly and annual subscriptions available for purchase.
ITU World Triathlon Series
Seven U.S. women will toe the line at WTS Yokohama, led by Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) in the No. 1 spot. After earning silver in the overall WTS standings last season, Zaferes came out fighting in 2019 to win the series’ first two stops in Abu Dhabi and Bermuda.
Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), the silver medalist behind Zaferes in Abu Dhabi and sixth-place finisher in Bermuda, is third on the start list. Separating the two Americans at No. 2 is Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth, who took bronze in Abu Dhabi and silver in Bermuda.
Also set to compete for the U.S. women is Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), who earned two top-20 finishes in Abu Dhabi and Bermuda to start the season. With four ITU Triathlon World Cup medals to her name, she is in search of her first podium on the WTS circuit.
Summer Rappaport (Thornton, Colo.), a 12-time ITU World Cup medalist, will look for her first WTS podium since a gold in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2016. Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.) will aim to continue her momentum after earning two silver medals at ITU Triathlon World Cups earlier this season.
Rounding out the U.S. women’s squad are three-time ITU World Cup medalist and 2017 U23 world champion Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), and three-time ITU Continental Cup champion Sophie Chase (Carlsbad, Calif.).
On the men’s side, Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) leads the U.S. contingent at No. 23. Hemming has a career-best WTS finish of 11th earned in Bermuda last year, and he will look to crack the top-10 for the first time this weekend. Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) is also one to watch, with a career-best WTS finish of 11th earned last year in Hamburg, Germany. McElroy’s best finish so far this season has been a 20th-place showing in Abu Dhabi.
Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.) will look to continue his rise through the ITU ranks. The 25-year-old earned his first ITU World Cup medal in February with a silver in Cape Town, South Africa. He was just four seconds off the podium at the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup in March and went on to earn two top-17 finishes at the WTS stops in Abi Dhabi and Bermuda.
Also competing for the U.S. men are 2018 U.S. elite national champion Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.) and eight-time ITU Continental Cup medalist William Huffman (Colleyville, Texas).
Click here to view complete WTS men’s and women’s start lists.
ITU World Paratriathlon Series
Seely (Glendale, Ariz.) leads the nine-strong U.S. elite paratriathlete contingent into the second WPS stop of the season. Since winning in Yokohama last year, Seely has remained undefeated in WPS competition — including earning her third career world title in Gold Coast, Australia, last September. At the first WPS stop of 2019 in Milan, Italy, Seely earned the women’s PTS2 gold medal with a margin of victory of more than two minutes.
Also competing in the women’s PTS2 category is Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.). Stockwell will look to return to the WPS podium after two fourth-place finishes last year. She has had a strong start to the 2019 season, earning silver at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships in March.
Racing for the PTS2 men is Allan Armstrong (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who also earned a silver at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI event. With a career-best WPS finish of sixth, he will be aiming for the podium against a stacked international field.
Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas), a rising star in the U.S. elite paratriathlon scene, will toe the line in the women’s PTS4 division. Elmlinger won gold in Sarasota-Bradenton to start her 2019 season, then went on to claim her first WPS medal, a silver, in Milan.
At No. 3 on the men’s PTS5 start list is Chris Hammer (Salt Lake City, Utah). An eight-time ITU World Paratriathlon Event medalist, Hammer will look to return to the podium after taking bronze in Yokohama last year.
Grace Norman (Cedarville, Ohio) was the women’s PTS5 silver medalist in Yokohama last year. She went on to earn a gold medal at the 2018 WPS stop in Edmonton and a bronze at the 2018 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships. Norman has had a strong start to the 2019 season with a win in Sarasota-Bradenton, and the Yokohama race will mark her 2019 WPS debut.
Kendall Gretsch (Madison, Wis.) headlines the women’s PTWC division. The 2016 world champion and four-time national champion has started 11 elite international paratriathlon races, and won all but one. She returns to the WPS circuit for the first time since 2016.
Elizabeth Baker (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Md.) will represent the U.S. in the women’s and men’s PTVI divisions, respectively. Baker earned two silver medals on the WPS circuit last year, including one in Yokohama. She went on to earn gold at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Paratriathlon World Cup in October, and another gold at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI event to start off 2019.
Snyder is a two-time CAMTRI event medalist, including a bronze in Sarasota-Bradenton earlier this season, and will be looking for his first WPS podium after placing fifth in Yokohama last year.
For complete paratriathlon start lists, click here.
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).