Paula Findlay thrilled with eighth place finish, rookies Amelie Kretz and Tyler Mislawchuk post career best finishes in ninth and 10th
LONDON—Canada’s triathletes enjoyed one of their most successful days as a team in the history of the program, placing three athletes in the top-10 on the World Triathlon Series in London, England on Sunday.
Paula Findlay reintroduced herself to the world in the women’s race with an eighth-place finish, while 21-year-old Amelie Kretz (Blainville, Que.) and 20-year-old rookie Tyler Mislawchuk (Oak Bluff, Man.) celebrated career-best finishes on the World Triathlon Series, finishing ninth and 10th respectively in women’s and men’s racing.
“Today was a very good one for Triathlon Canada with three athletes in the top-10. It is so exiting to see the young talent raising the bar at this level and leading the chase of a very talented young generation on the rise,” said Libby Burrell, high-performance director, Triathlon Canada. “Tyler and Amelie are testimony to the work being done at the development level by our coaches and I believe this is just the beginning of got things to come.
“But it was especially pleasing today to see Paula delivering the kind of performance we know she is capable of. She has worked so hard to get back and today she announced her arrival to the world she is back in the mix.”
London has been a bittersweet venue for Findlay. It was on this course five years ago where the red-headed Edmontonian won her first of five World Triathlon Series races. Plagued with injuries in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics, which impacted her preparation, London’s historic Hyde Park was where Findlay finished a heart breaking dead last in her Olympic debut.
Many counted her out from ever returning to the top of the standings after experiencing the emotional blow, but the fiery 26 year old was back in the mix on Sunday with another breakthrough performance.
Battling through the 750-metre swim set in the Serpentine in the middle of Hyde Park, Findlay was solid on the four-lap, 20-kilometre bike course that toured past one of the world’s largest city’s top attractions including Buckingham Palace, Wellington Arch and Constitutional Hill. Findlay posted a time of 56 minutes, 32 seconds.
“I am thrilled with this finish,” said Findlay. “The swim I got pretty beat up, but it worked. The bike was good and I ran better than I have been which is reassuring to have a run I know I’m capable of. Now I’m looking so forward to the rest of the season.”
With the Canadian veteran proving to the world she is not done yet, it was also bittersweet day for the young gun, Amelie Kretz, who showed the depth that is building in the Canadian ranks. Completing just her second World Triathlon Series race ever, Kretz was in the mix for the medals until being forced to serve a penalty. When all was said and done, the rising star clocked a ninth-place time of 56:33.
“It was a bit of a frustrating race for me. I had a good start, but a girl kept swimming on top of me, and we both lost the feet of the front group because of that,” said Kretz, who was 13th on the Gold Coast in April. “The first lap of the bike was a bit chaotic. Nobody wanted to work with me so the second chase caught us. On the second or third lap a girl cut her lane and to avoid a crash I had to go on the other side of the cones just before transition. I got a 10 second penalty for doing that.
“I was running in fourth and fifth comfortably. I took my penalty after the first lap and probably dropped to 15th. I was so frustrated and just ran as hard as I could until the finish where I was ninth. That is not too bad, but I know I could’ve been in the top-four today with my run split. It’s a good confidence booster. I know I belong in the top-five, and I’m hungry for more.”
Other Canadian women results included: Sarah-Anne Brault (Quebec City) in 37th at 57:59, while Calgary’s Ellen Pennock made her return to elite racing with a 49h-place result (59:01).
The Americans swept the women’s podium. Gwen Jorgensen won her 10th straight race with a time of 55:45. Katie Zaferes was second at 56:06, while Sarah True completed the sweep in the bronze medal position after clocking a time of 56:07.
Earlier in the day, it was Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk who captured the world’s attention with an impressive 10th-place finish in the men’s race.
Lining up against 60 of the best men’s triathletes in the world, the 20-year-old rookie showed know fear while posting a career-best 10h-place result in just his third World Triathlon Series race.
With his parents cheering on the sidelines, Mislawchuk was racing in seventh spot until he slipped on the slick pavement in the final turn of the run, which dropped him to 10th.
Alistair Brownlee, of Great Britain, thrilled the thousands of boisterous fans that flocked to Hyde Park by winning the men’s race with a time of 50:39. Spain’s Fernando Alarza was second at 50:51, while Vincent Luis, of France, locked up the bronze medal with a time of 50:57.
The World Triathlon Series resumes in Hamburg, Germany on July 18 following the after the Pan Am Games that are set for Toronto, July 10-26. Triathlon Canada, in conjunction with the Canadian Olympic Committee, will name its team of six athletes set for the Pan Am Games on June 14.
Complete Results (750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike, 5 kilometre run): www.triathlon.org
Top-Five Women’s Results:
1. Gwen Jorgensen, USA, 55:45; 2. Katie Zaferes, USA, 56:06; 3. Sarah True, USA, 56:06; 4. Aileen Reid, IRL, 56:25; 5. Vicky Holland, GBR, 56:28.
8. Paula Findlay, Edmonton, 56:32; 9. Amelie Kretz, Blainville, Que., 56:33; 37. Sarah-Anne Brault, Quebec City, 57:59; 49. Ellen Pennock, Calgary, 59:01.
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Alistair Brownlee, GBR, 50:39; 2. Fernando Alarza, ESP, 50:51; 3. Vincent Luis, FRA, 50:57; 4. Ryan Bailie, AUS, 50:58; 5. Richard Murray, RSA, 51:01.
10. Tyler Mislawchuk, Oak Bluff, Man., 51:14