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USA Triathlon Weekend Notebook: Team USA Leaves Their Mark in Leeds and Besancon

By USA Triathlon | June 13, 2022, 2:52 p.m. (ET)

Erika Ackerlund running WTCS Leeds

AJ Bell World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds
Leeds, England

Leeds hosted the second stop of the WTCS circuit in 2022, hosted a fast and furious sprint-distance race, followed by the first Mixed Relay event of the year. The race was also the first event in the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification window.  

Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) had the strongest result of the weekend for Team USA. She finished fourth on Saturday, completing the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5k run course through Roundhay Park in a time of 59 minutes, 22 seconds — 7 seconds off the podium. 


Spivey smashed it on the bike, leading into T2. With a furious sprint finish, she held off Great Britain’s Beth Potter to finish fourth, her best finish at Leeds since also placing fourth in 2019. 

 

With the performance, Spivey vaults up to fourth in the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Rankings, best among the U.S. women. 

Fellow U.S. women, newly married Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) and Erika Ackerlund (Helena, Mont.) rode in the chase group and finished 12th and 26th, respectively. Tokyo 2020 Olympian Summer Rappaport (Thornton, Colo.) made her 2022 WTCS debut, placing 46th. 


In the men’s race, Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) led the U.S. elite triathlete men, placing 16th with a time of 54:18. He was particularly strong on the run, ripping off a 14:37 5k, good for the fifth-fastest run split of the day. 


Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.) placed 42nd.

The following day on Sunday, nations grouped up to take on the super sprint, teammate tag-off race format. The U.S. elite triathlete quartet of McElroy, Spivey, Rider and Ackerlund teamed up to finish ninth. 

World Triathlon Para Cup Besancon
Besancon, France

Seven elite paratriathlon nationals were also competing in Europe over the weekend, collecting hardware in France at the World Triathlon Para Cup Besancon.

Team USA earned four medals at the event, with PTS5 superstar Grace Norman taking home a gold.

In the men's PTVI event, Owen Cravens snagged a third-place finish to earn the bronze. He is having a fantastic year, making podium in all three race appearances this year after coming in second in Sarasota at the Americas Cup and last month in Yokohama when he also placed second. 

Kendra Herber and Emma Meyers shared the women's PTS4 podium, after coming in second- and third-place respectively. Both women were debuting in their first-ever World Triathlon event.

 
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IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman
Cambridge, Md.

Half-Iron racers flooded the East Coast over the weekend with IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman. 

The pros battled it out, with U.S. athletes claiming four of the spots on the men's and women's podiums. 

Two-time U.S. Olympian Sarah True returned to triathlon after a two-year hiatus to take the women's pro starting line. She came back with a bang after grabbing the overall women's title. 

She finished in 4:03:52.

 
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A post shared by Sarah (Groff) True (@sarah.b.true)

Joining her on the podium was Sophie Watts, who finished third in 4:05:35.

On the men's pro side, USA claimed second and third overall. Justin Metzler had a time of 3:42:51 to take the silver, just missing gold by under a minute. 

Andy Potts took the bronze, coming in at 3:44:48.

Full results can be found here

 
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IRONMAN Des Moines
Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa was the home for the 2022 North American Championship on Sunday. 

 

Matt Hanson claimed victory in the men's field, clocking 7:56:48  to take home the title. 

Joining him on the podium was Tom O'Donnell, who finished third in 8:10:07.

How adorable is this to finish and have your family there to meet you at the finish line?

In the women's race, Skye Moench had a crazy strong performance, winning the Championship with an over 20-minute lead!

Her time was 8:51:44.

Kelly Fillnow finished third in a time of 9:20:07.

Grand Rapids Triathlon
Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Michigan State Championship was held at the Grand Rapids Triathlon over the weekend. The two-day event, put on by Tris4Health hosted 1,400 people taking on super sprint, sprint, Olympic and half-distance courses and is the largest independent triathlon in Michigan. 

GRTri is a great event for newbie triathletes and is super family friendly, despite it having (wetsuit) strippers as a part of the race experience. 

For more information on the event, visit grandrapidstri.com.