COZUMEL, Mex.–Canada’s Joanna Brown finished in a familiar spot, just off the podium in fifth, at the Triathlon World Cup sprint race in Cozumel, Mexico on Sunday.
Weeks removed from her 21st birthday, the Carp, Ont. resident was positioned perfectly on the pontoon for the spectacular 750-metre swim through the crystal clear water with some of the fastest swimmers on the triathlon circuit.
“I was pulled under numerous times by girls grabbing my legs so I swallowed a fair bit of salty water but eventually found a bit of clear water before the first turn which was pretty chaotic,” said Brown, who clocked a time of 58 minutes 43 seconds. “I had good transition and worked well with (Nicoloa) Spirig to close the gap on the lead group. I spent the rest of the bike taking a few pulls, but mostly trying to stay cool and spin the legs.”
After struggling with her helmet and shoes in transition following the piping hot 20-kilometre bike course in Mexico, Brown headed out on the five-kilometre run just 10 seconds off the pace of the frontrunners.
“This mistake definitely cost me as I decided to attempt to bridge gradually instead of going full speed to catch on,” added Brown. “In hindsight, I should have been more aggressive. In all honesty, I’m very disappointed. I made mistakes that cost me the race, and although I don’t know how it would have played out, I would definitely have been in podium contention.”
Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig won the women’s race with a time of 57:53. Sarah Groff, of the United States, was second at 57:58, while Austria’s Lisa Perterer ran to the bronze medal with a time of 58:11.
Brown has had a solid season, also finishing fifth at a World Cup in Huatulco, Mexico earlier this year and at last months Under-23 World Championships. Despite a crash at the Edmonton World Cup, Brown finished just off the podium in fourth.
“This year has been frustrating for me, but I know the areas where I can improve and the things I need to work on,” said Brown. “I know that I can be up there with the best athletes in the world, and I just need to focus on the process and stay dedicated. I have no lack of determination and perseverance. That combined with an amazing coach and a great team, I will keep improving and working my way to the top.”
Sunday also marked the return to triathlon racing for Calgary’s Kyla Coates, who hit the start line for the first time in two years. The 23-year-old Coates put together a solid 14th-place finish with a time of 1:00:28. Dominika Jamnicky, of Port Hope, Ont., placed 29th at 1:04:40.
Andrew Bysice was the only Canadian to suit up for the men’s race, and finished 30h at 54:49. Spain’s Javier Gomez, who was competing in his first race since winning the World Championships in London, was on top of the podium again, clocking a golden time of 53:26.
Triathlon Canada is the governing body for triathlon in the country. Recognized as an Olympic medal sport since 2000 and has been added to the 2016 Paralympic program, Triathlon Canada’s mandate is to promote, foster, organize and develop the sport of triathlon, and its related disciplines, in Canada. For more information on Triathlon Canada, please visit us at www.triathloncanada.com on the Internet.
Complete Results (750-metre swim, 20 kilometre bike, 5 kilometre run): www.triathlon.org