ABU DHABI, UAE — Showcasing an impressive start of the season, U.S. Elite Triathlon National Team member Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) earned the bronze medal in the opening race of the circuit at the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi on Friday, March 3.
Crossing the line in 58 minutes and 27 seconds, the third-place finish granted Spivey her first WTCS podium since 2021 and fifth-career WTCS medal.
The top-three finish also offered sweet redemption for Spivey, after she just barely missed the podium last season with three fourth-place finishes and ultimately a fourth-place overall Series ranking.
“To earn the bronze medal — pleased is an understatement. At one point in the race I was in fourth place and I thought ‘I can’t let this happen again!’ I am not the most confident athlete and racing is a way to build my confidence. And at the end of the day, I just executed every step of the race pretty perfectly and I finally came away with a step above fourth place, I am happy with it,” Spivey said of her result.
Abu Dhabi opened the season as the first of seven total stops on the 2023 WTCS calendar, with athletes returning to the same host city that crowned the World Champions last November.
Placing seventh in Abu Dhabi last fall, Spivey improved her position to third on a sprint-distance course (750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5k run). She finished just 31 seconds behind the victor, Beth Potter of Great Britain, who won in a time of 57:56, followed by British compatriot Sophie Coldwell with the silver (58:14).
U.S. Elite Summer Rappaport (Thornton, Colo.) also had a standout season-starting result, placing fourth. After a dominating swim where was third out of the water, she crossed the finish line just 8 seconds behind Spivey to claim the fourth-place position with a time of 58:35.
Fellow U.S. Elites, Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) finished 25th with a time of 59:28, while Katie Zaferes (Cary, N.C.) clocked a time of 1:00:21 to finish 37th overall. This marked her first competition back to racing since 2021 and seven months after giving birth to her son last summer.
Gina Sereno (Madison. Wis.), fresh off her win last week at the Arena Games Triathlon Series in Montreal, made her second-ever WTCS appearance, finishing 41st.
On the men’s side, Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) finished strong for the U.S. men, earning eighth place with a time of 53:19, his best WTCS result since 2019.
2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi
750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5K run
Elite Women’s Podium - Complete Results
1. Beth Potter (GBR), 57:56
2. Sophie Coldwell (GBR), 58:14
3. Taylor Spivey (Rendondo Beach, Calif.), 58:27
U.S. Elite Women Results
3. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 58:27
4. Summer Rappaport (Thronton, Colo.), 58:35
25. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 59:28
37. Katie Zaferes (Cary, N.C.), 1:00:21
41. Gina Sereno (Madison, Wis.), 1:00:46
Elite Men’s Podium - Complete Results
1. Alex Yee (GBR), 52:53
2. Vasco Vilaca (POR), 52:59
3. Manoel Messias (BRA), 53:06
U.S. Elite Men Results
8. Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 53:19
DNF Kevin McDowell (Geneva, Ill.)
DNS Morgan Pearson (Mt. Vernon, Vt.)
DNS Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.)