NOTTINGHAM, U.K.— A young and highly-talented squad consisting of Joanna Brown (Carp, Ont.), Tyler Mislawchuk (Oak Bluff, Man.), Amelie Kretz (Blainville, Que.) and Victoria’s Matt Sharpe has opened the first mixed team relay Olympic qualifier with a seventh-place finish.
Kretz, the 25-year-old Olympian, lead off the Canadians and quickly ran into rough traffic on the swim.
“I was right up there and got pulled back, then the girls swam on top of me and I was stuck underwater for a few seconds,” she said of the early chaotic swim. Kretz was part of a small group that tried to bridge the main group on the bike but couldn’t quite close the gap. “I had a good [second transition], and ran as hard as I could, but I was pretty far back from that main group. It was a really disappointing leg for me.”
Mislawchuk came in with a strong overall performance, notching the third-fastest overall time and fourth-fastest run before handing off to Brown. Sharpe then capped the race by laying down the day’s fastest swim before a slip and fall on the transition deck left him injured—but he soldiered on, and the Canadians finished 1:07 off the winning pace.
“Coming into transition, I slipped on the wet carpet and hit the deck hard. I ended up dislocating my thumb and lost some time trying to get my helmet on,” said Sharpe of the incident that left him in pain for the next two legs. “Onto the bike I was in a lot of pain, but I had other athletes around me so I just focused on staying with them. I wasn’t as good on the corners with my thumb so I had to be as strategic as possible to hang in. I really had to push the run to catch up with my group. It was nice to be running hard as I couldn’t feel the pain in my thumb. I was able to outsprint my group and finish up.”
Recently named an official medal discipline for the 2020 Olympic Summer Games, the mixed team relay lived up to its billing on Saturday as one of the most exciting, spectator-friendly events in triathlon – with teams of two women and two men each completing a short-course triathlon (250m swim, 7km bike, 1.5km run) before tagging off to their teammate to take on the next leg.
The United States stood atop the podium, completing the course in 1:21:16 – 29 seconds ahead of the second-place finishers from Great Britain. Team France crossed the finish line a mere one-hundredth of a second ahead of Australia to capture third place.
With its seventh-place finish, Canada captures some qualifying points on the road to compete in the event in 2020.
Canada’s best finish at a Mixed Team World Championships came in 2009 when the team led by Simon Whitfield won the bronze in Des Moines, Iowa. The foursome that competed on Thursday – Brown, Kretz, Mislawchuk, and Sharpe – were part of the red-and-white’s fourth-place finish in the mixed team relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, as well as the fifth-place finish at the 2017 Mixed Relay World Championship in Hamburg, Germany.
The 2018 Mixed Relay World Championships will once again be held in Hamburg, Germany, July 14-15.
Complete Mixed Team Relay Results:
- United States 1:21:16
- Great Britain 1:21:45
- France 1:21:57
- Australia 1:21:58
- Netherlands 1:22:02
- Switzerland 1:22:14
- Canada 1:22:23
- Denmark 1:22:23
- Italy 1:22:25
- Germany 1:22:26
- Hungary 1:22:30
- New Zealand 1:23:04
- Spain 1:23:05
- Austria 1:23:18
- South Africa 1:26:15
- Japan 1:27:05
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