SARASOTA, Fl—Four of Canada’s top young triathletes put a silver lining around the 2018 competitive race season after finishing second at the CAMTRI Mixed Relay American Championships on Sunday in Sarasota, Florida.
The highly-talented squad consisting of Joanna Brown (Carp, Ont.), Tyler Mislawchuk (Oak Bluff, Man.), Desirae Ridenour (Cowichan Bay, B.C.) and Victoria’s Matt Sharpe took on many of the best triathletes on the planet to post a second-place time of 1:07:45.
“It was a stellar effort from the entire team today,” said Sharpe, who raced the anchor leg. “Everybody executed exactly what they needed to do, and we were incredibly close to taking the win.”
Recently named an official medal discipline for the 2020 Olympic Summer Games, the mixed team relay is an action-packed, spectator-friendly event with teams of two women and two men each completing a short-course triathlon before tagging off to their teammate to take on the next leg. The race was changed to a duathlon format due to water quality. Each athlete completed a duathlon run – bike – run format.
Joanna Brown, who began the season with a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, was determined to finish 2018 on a high note after a rollercoaster season. The gritty Canuck blasted off the start line and never looked back – completing two solid runs and a strong bike to lead the opening leg.
Brown tagged off to 2016 Olympian, Tyler Mislawchuk, who bounced back after a challenging individual race on Saturday to put in a strong effort. The 24-year-old darted out of the transition zone and carried the lead through each of his three disciplines before handing off to 18-year-old Desirae Ridenour.
The teenage Ridenour, who has been toeing the line against the world’s elite over the last two years, dropped one spot after clocking the third-fastest time of her leg at 18:07, leaving veteran Matthew Sharpe to hunt down the Americans in a race for the gold medal.
Coming off a 14th-place finish in Saturday’s World Cup race, the 27-year-old Sharpe dug for precious seconds over the frontrunners, but in the end finished five seconds behind.
“Our strategy was to put early pressure on the American team and Joanna and Tyler did just that,” added Sharpe. “Desirae raced beyond her years and stuck with the top World Triathlon Series athlete to give me a chance against one of the better runners on the circuit,” said Sharpe.
“I played the only card I had and attacked with a bit to go on the bike. It wasn’t enough in the end and I couldn’t quite hold onto his pace. I finished as close as I could in second place. I am so proud of our entire team’s efforts today.”
The Americans captured the gold on home soil, winning with a time of 1:07:40. Brazil was third at 1:08:00.
With increased depth in the athlete pool, the mixed team relay is a core part of Triathlon Canada’s high-performance strategy heading towards the 2020 Olympic Summer Games. Brown, Mislawchuk, Ridenour and Sharpe finished fourth in the Mixed Relay at the Commonwealth Games this year.
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Triathlon Canada is the governing body of the sport in the country. Triathlon Canada’s more than 22,000 members include athletes, coaches and officials from the grassroots to elite levels. With the support of its valued corporate partners – 94 FORWARD, 2XU Canada, Training Peaks, Garneau, Zizu Optics and Zone3– along with the City of Victoria Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, and Own the Podium, Triathlon Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and World Champions in all race disciplines. For more information on Triathlon Canada, please visit us at www.triathloncanada.com.