LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Team USA athletes collected 20 medals and five world titles Sunday at the ITU Age Group Standard-Distance Triathlon World Championships, held on the final day of racing at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Standard World Championships featured a 1,500-meter swim in Lake Geneva, followed by a 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run on the city streets featuring steep climbs and technical turns. Standard-distance competitors qualified for Team USA by earning a top-18 age-group finish at the 2018 USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships in Cleveland; or by placing near the top of the USA Triathlon year-end rankings for their respective age groups.
Team USA’s five world champions included Matthew Murray (M20-24, Pearland, Texas); Ginger Reiner (F40-44, Lincoln, Mass.); Adrienne LeBlanc (F50-54, Scottsdale, Ariz.); Robert Skaggs (M50-54, Solana Beach, Calif.); and Linda Robb (F55-59, Juno Beach, Fla.). Skaggs also won his division in Saturday’s ITU Age Group Sprint World Championships.
Murray earned Team USA’s first world title of the day, successfully defending his 2018 gold medal in the men’s 20-24 division.
“I think as far as defending my title goes, a lot of athletes have some degree of imposter syndrome,” Murray said. “’Did I do the proper training for this? Maybe I’m not as good as some of these other guys.’ I think that is a large source of the pre-race nerves we all feel. Winning your first world championship is something special, but defending it is nice too. It feels good to know that the first time wasn’t a fluke and to put to rest those thoughts.”
Grace Alexander (Atlanta, Ga.) was the next U.S. medalist of the day, earning silver in the women’s 25-29 age group. Alexander was pleased to reach the podium after placing fourth at her first world championship last year in Gold Coast, Australia. She recorded the fourth-fastest swim and the third-fastest bike of her division Sunday to put herself into medal contention.
“It was a challenging venue, something you hope for in a world championships course,” Alexander said. “The swim was tougher than planned — I broke my collarbone three months ago, so it’s been a struggle getting the swim back. The bike and run were expected to be hilly and a bit technical. I’m happy the legs showed up, and I could finish strong to place second for Team USA.”
Women’s 40-44 gold medalist Reiner, for whom Lausanne marked her first world championship, said the opportunity to meet athletes from around the world has been one of the most rewarding parts of her experience.
“It's been such an amazing few days. I had never been to worlds, before and I love it,” Reiner said. “There are so many people on Team USA, I run into them everywhere, and it's been really fun to meet people from the other countries too. I had a great metro ride with a guy from Canada, and I talked with some guys from Italy yesterday. It's been a great experience.”
LeBlanc, on the other hand, is a worlds veteran. She has competed for Team USA annually for six of the last seven years, earning three world titles and a bronze in the process. In Sunday’s race in Lausanne, she dominated the women’s 50-54 division to finish nearly a minute ahead of her closest competitor.
“I felt very focused on each discipline — trying not to think about what's coming up, but just focus on what I'm doing at the moment, and that helped a lot,” LeBlanc said. It feels amazing, I'm so surprised (to win). I'm just in awe, and I can't believe it. There are so many good women out here.”
In addition to Skaggs, Todd Buckingham (M30-34, Big Rapids, Mich.) and Sibyl Jacobson (F75-79, New York, N.Y.) also earned back-to-back medals in the sprint- and standard-distance races. Both earned silver medals in their respective age groups in the sprint, followed by bronzes in the standard-distance.
More than 700 U.S. athletes competed for Team USA in either the ITU Sprint or Standard World Championships, winning a combined 31 medals and nine world titles across the two disciplines.
The ITU World Triathlon Grand Final marked the culmination of the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Series by crowning the men’s and women’s elite world champions, while also featuring world championship events for elite paratriathletes, U23s, juniors and age-group athletes. Visit usatriathlon.org for recaps of all races.
ITU Age Group Standard-Distance Triathlon World Championships
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run — Complete Results
United States Medalists
1. Matthew Murray (Pearland, Texas), 2:02:10
2. Grace Alexander (Atlanta, Ga.), 2:17:43
3. Gabrielle Bunten (Forest Lake, Minn.), 2:18:43
3. Stefanie Cullingford (Monroe, Conn.), 2:16:55
1. Ginger Reiner (Lincoln, Mass.), 2:22:19
3. Kim Webster (Framingham, Mass.), 2:23:22
3. Becky Paige (Maynard, Mass.), 2:25:08
1. Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.), 2:24:26
3. Steph Popelar (Parker, Colo.), 2:26:20
1. Robert Skaggs (Solana Beach, Calif.), 2:09:27
1. Linda Robb (Juno Beach, Fla.), 2:32:21
2. Lee Walther (Oklahoma City, Okla.), 2:16:18
2. Judith Laney (Denver, Colo.), 2:57:06
3. Missy LeStrange (Visalia, Calif.), 3:00:48
2. Paul Clark (Olivenhain, Calif.), 2:35:59
2. Sarah Degive (Santa Fe, N.M.), 3:17:23
2. Peggy McDowell-Cramer (Santa Monica, Calif.), 4:15:15
3. Sibyl Jacobson (New York, N.Y.), 4:23:19
3. Robert Plant (Woodside, Calif.), 3:21:36
2. Dietrich Bolz (Conroe, Texas), 4:26:03
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 & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).