Home USA Triathlon News Articles Best of 2019: Top Mo...

Best of 2019: Top Moments

By Caryn Maconi | Dec. 16, 2019, 8 a.m. (ET)

katie zaferes popping champagne on the podium

The USA Triathlon community witnessed a multitude of inspiring performances, impressive feats and innovative milestones in 2019. Here are some of the most memorable and historic moments from throughout the season:

Katie Zaferes wins overall Super League Women’s Championship title

On Feb. 24, Zaferes clinched the 2018-19 Super League title with a victory at the series finale in Singapore. It was a fitting way for Zaferes to end one season while starting another, as the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Series kicked off just two weeks later.

Women of Colorado State earn historic podium sweep at USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships

CSU’s Hayley Belles, Meghan Smith and Katrina Lems earned the first podium sweep in Collegiate Club Nationals history April 6 in Tempe, Arizona. That result propelled the Rams to a second-place finish in the women’s club standings on the weekend.  

USA Triathlon Foundation announces recipients of $80,000 in 2019 grant funding

Grant funding was dispersed among 43 organizations and individuals. The inaugural Bridget Inspires Grant was awarded to five up-and-coming female triathletes and one high school triathlon club to support young women pursuing competitive excellence in multisport.

U.S. age groupers win 20 world titles at Pontevedra ITU Multisport World Championships

Team USA athletes reached the podium 68 times across six multisport disciplines in the third annual world championships festival. Of the medals won, 20 were gold, 25 were silver and 23 were bronze.

Katie Zaferes leads U.S. women’s podium sweep at ITU World Triathlon Yokohama

Zaferes (gold), Rappaport (silver) and Spivey (bronze) swept the podium at ITU World Triathlon Yokohama on May 18, marking the fourth U.S. podium sweep in ITU World Triathlon Series history and the first since 2016.

Matt McElroy makes history with silver medal at ITU World Triathlon Leeds

In the fourth stop of the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Series in Leeds, England, McElroy became just the second U.S. man — and the first since 2009 — to podium on the WTS circuit. McElroy’s performance came on a day that featured one of the strongest WTS fields in history. 

Paralympians Allysa Seely, Mark Barr win ESPYs

Seely and Barr were honored July 18 in Los Angeles at the ESPY Awards, ESPN’s annual awards celebration. They were named Best Female Athlete With a Disability and Best Male Athlete With a Disability, respectively, for their undefeated 2018 elite paratriathlon seasons.

Hundreds take part in inaugural Legacy Triathlon in Long Beach, California

The debut event was held in Long Beach at the proposed site of the triathlon competitions for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028. More than 700 amateur athletes participated in the sold-out race, which will be held annually in the lead-up to the 2028 Games.

Sophie Chase, Will Huffman earn top-five finishes at Pan American Games as mixed relay team takes fourth

Six up-and-coming elite triathletes represented the U.S. at the Pan American Games Lima 2019. Chase and Huffman placed fourth and fifth respectively in the individual races, while Avery Evenson, Huffman, Chase and Austin Hindman teamed up to take fourth in the mixed relay.

Toyota, USA Triathlon and Challenged Athletes Foundation combine to offer first-ever professional prize purse at Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships

The three organizations each contributed $12,250 to the event’s historic professional prize purse, bringing the total to $36,750. Prize money was awarded to podium finishers in each paratriathlon sport class, as well as sighted guides for athletes with visual impairments.

Summer Rappaport qualifies for U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team

Rappaport became the first athlete to earn auto-qualification to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team by virtue of a fifth-place finish at the Tokyo ITU World Olympic Qualification Event, held Aug. 14 at Odaiba Marine Park.

U.S. Mixed Relay Team races to bronze at Tokyo test event

Rappaport, Seth Rider, Tamara Gorman and Ben Kanute teamed up to earn bronze in a showcase of the thrilling event race format will make its debut as a medal event at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

Katie Zaferes crowned ITU Triathlon World Champion in Lausanne

Zaferes was crowned world champion after winning the overall ITU World Triathlon Series title on Aug. 31, capping a stellar season with a gold medal at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. She is the first U.S. elite triathlon world champion since Gwen Jorgensen won in 2014 and 2015 and went on to become the 2016 Olympic gold medalist.

Seven American paratriathletes medal at World Championships in Lausanne

U.S. paratriathletes earned seven medals at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, held Sept. 1 in Lausanne. Kendall Gretsch, Allysa Seely and Kelly Elmlinger won silver medals, while Hailey Danz, Chris Hammer, Grace Norman and Aaron Scheidies collected bronze.

U.S. athletes earn combined 31 medals at ITU Age Group Sprint and Standard World Championships

USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA showed up in full force at the ITU Age Group World Championships in Lausanne, capturing nine world titles and 31 medals. More than 700 U.S. athletes competed for Team USA across the sprint and standard distances.

USA Triathlon unveils world’s first entirely online swim, bike and run event: Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon

The unprecedented online challenge gave aspiring triathletes the chance to try out the sport in an approachable format, while offering a unique virtual racing experience for anyone in the multisport community. The #VirtualTri drew nearly 5,000 participants from across the nation.

Arizona State, Queens and North Central earn Women’s Collegiate Triathlon national titles

Arizona State University, Queens University of Charlotte and North Central College earned NCAA Division I, II and III team titles respectively. ASU’s Kyle Roy (DI), Davis & Elkins College’s Natalia Hidalgo Martinez (DII) and North Central’s Madelyn Scopp (DIII) took individual wins.

Tim O’Donnell takes second at IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii

O’Donnell earned his second career Kona podium after a third-place finish in 2015. He posted the fastest time for a U.S. man in history on the storied course, breaking the 8-hour barrier with a time of 7 hours, 59 minutes, 40 seconds.

U.S. men sweep ITU World Cup closer in Santo Domingo as McElroy takes third straight win

McElroy (gold), Kevin McDowell (silver) and Morgan Pearson (bronze) swept the podium in the Dominican Republic, capping a season in which several U.S. men had breakthrough performances. McElroy’s victory in Santo Domingo marked his third straight ITU World Cup win.

Wesley Johnson named Paralympic Coach of the Year at Team USA Awards Presented by Dow

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee honored Johnson for his outstanding achievements coaching U.S. elite paratriathletes to international success in 2019. He is the first triathlon coach to earn the honor.