It’s early days still but there has certainly been a promising start to the international scene by South African triathletes.
The season started off at the World Cup in Mooloolabe in Australia, with a fourth place for Kate Roberts which she followed up with a sixth spot at the first of the World Championship Series races in Sydney on 11 April.
A week later and Erhard Wolfardt has finished ninth at the Monterrey World Cup in Mexico and Mari Rabie fourth.
TSA High Performance Manager, Emma Swanwick is one person encouraged by the results. ÔÇ£It is the start of the international season so not too much can be read into the results yet. After all the northern hemisphere really only starts racing in May.ÔÇØ
Rabie’s lack of speed on the run right now is what cost her a podium place, as she was competitive in both the swim and the bike leg.
American super-swimmer Hayley Peirsol jumped into the lead right from the start, easily swimming away from the field of 38 women. She entered the first transition with a 40-second advantage over a chase group that included Paula Findlay (US), Claudia Rivas (Mex), Line Jensen (Den), Rabie, Chie Nakashima (Jpn) and Elizabeth Bravo (Ecu).
Peirsol tucked low in her aerobars and tried to time-trial away from the chasers, but after the second of eight laps on the bike, her lead was down to just 25 seconds. The chase group swallowed up Peirsol midway through lap three and began rotating the lead to hold off second group.
Findlay and Nakashima were first out of of the second transition and after the second of four laps through Fundidora Park, Findlay was alone in the lead and Ueda had pulled all the way up into second place, 17 seconds behind the Canadian. At 5km Jensen was 38sec behind Findlay, with Rabie and Rivas running another 30 seconds back.
Findlay was first across the line with Ueda second, 33sec back and Jensen grabbing the final spot on the podium. Rabie and Bravo finished fourth, both 26sec behind Jensen. Rabie’s run split certainly cost her a place on the podium.
Wolfardt was always within touching distance on all three legs, but lost a little ground on each of them to finish ninth. His overall finishing time of 1:45:41 though was a promising time for the rest of the season.