HAMBURG — Putting forth a solid and consistent showcase with a roster of two women and two men who had never before competed together, the United States placed fifth overall in the mixed relay at the World Triathlon Championship Series Hamburg on Sunday.
The team consisting of Erika (Missoula, Mont.), Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.), Summer Rappaport (Thornton, Colo.) and Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.) finished the race in 1 hour 22 minutes and 51 seconds.
Germany earned the mixed relay crown after an impressive final leg saw Tim Hellwig create enough of a lead on the run that despite a 10-second penalty, had enough of an advantage to bring it home. The Germans captured the win, finishing with a time of 1:21:39 to complete a perfect home soil weekend after also taking home gold in both men's and women's individual events the day before.
Italy claimed the silver with a 1:21:45 finish and Denmark finished third at 1:22:32 to earn the nation’s first mixed relay WTCS podium.
With each athlete racing a 300-meter swim, 7-kilometer bike and 1.7-kilometer run in the traditional female-male-female-male format, Ackerlund led for the Americans. Fresh off a top-10 finish in the women’s race from one day earlier, Ackerlund set the U.S. team up for a strong contention from the start.
Ackerlund was third out of the water and just four seconds down from Olivia Mathias of Great Britain heading into the first transition. The bike in the first leg saw a group of 11 nations together that eventually thinned out on the run. By the first tag off, Ackerlund had held onto a strong sixth position and down by only 12 seconds from the leader.
The first man to perform was McQueen, who was the only member of the U.S. team on Sunday that won mixed relay gold in Montreal in August.
Mirroring the first leg, McQueen exited the swim maintaining the 12-second gap but caught up in transition enough to make the leading bike pack.
Six nations — USA, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Denmark and New Zealand — worked together to create enough of an edge over the remaining field that it was clear the podium would come from within the group. Despite having finished 29th the day before, McQueen showcased his mixed relay experience and kept the leaders in sight over the course of the run. He stayed at the sixth position with a 23-second deficit at the pass off to Rappaport.
Having had the strongest U.S. result in the individual races the day before by earning the bronze medal, the pressure was on for Rappaport to bring her team back into podium contention in the third leg.
With the swim as one of her best disciplines, Rappaport dove into the water and was able to make up 11 seconds in the short 300-meters. However, when she missed making it into the front bike pack, she was forced to ride solo for the first lap before getting some support from Sian Rainsley of Great Britain. As she entered T2, she had 49 seconds to make up on the run. Putting forth a swift 5:33 run, Rappaport again made up 18 seconds and positioned the U.S. into fifth place before tagging off to Hindman to close out the day.
In his first Mixed Relay showing in the WTCS circuit, Hindman put forth a solid performance to finish up for Team USA. While Italy, Germany and New Zealand dove off the pontoon together fighting for the lead, Hindman held onto fifth place for the Americans in the swim. He made up ground out on the bike when he caught Oscar Gladney Rundqvist of Denmark in fourth.
While Germany and Italy were off untouched after T2, going into the final 1.7-kilometers of the race on the run, the U.S. were just seven seconds down from the bronze medal position.
However, Trent Thorpe and Rundqvist got the edge over Hindman in the final stretch and overtook him to place the Americans in fifth on the day — a massive accomplishment for the young team.
2021 World Triathlon Champion Series Mixed Relay Hamburg
4x 300m swim, 7k bike, 1.7k run I Complete Results
1. Germany (Laura Lindemann, Lasse Nygaard-Priester, Marlene Gomez-, Tim Hellwig), 1:21:39
2. Italy (Beatrice Mallozzi, Alessio , Carlotta , Gianluca ), 1:21:45
3. Denmark (Alberte Kjaer Pederson, Emil Holm, Sif Bendix Madsen, Oscar Gladney ) 1:22:32
4. New Zealand (Nicole Van Der Kaay, Saxton Morgan, Ainsley Thorpe, Trent Thorpe), 1:22:40
5. United States (Erika , Chase McQueen, Summer Rappaport, Austin Hindman), 1:22:51