2012 Olympic qualifier Gwen Jorgensen and Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker led the competition Sunday to win the final event of the USA Triathlon Elite Race Series, which also served as the Myrtle Beach ITU Pan American Cup. The pair also clinched overall series titles with their victories today.
Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) was with the lead pack for most of the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run course, and used her strength in the run to finish in 2 hours, 1 minute, 20 seconds.
The men’s race was closely contested from beginning to end, but Shoemaker (Maynard, Mass.) edged the next closest competitor by five seconds, earning a time of 1:47:54.
“I feel like my season just started again,” Shoemaker said. “I had a really rough mid-season, and the last month and a half I’ve just been having fun and enjoying it. I’m feeling great, and this was a fun race.”
Following a strong showing in Buffalo, Australian Charlotte McShane finished behind Jorgensen in 2:01:56. Lindsey Jerdonek (Washington, D.C.) finished in 2:03:03 to take third.
In the men’s race, Under-23 standout Tommy Zaferes (Soquel, Calif.) finished second with a time of 1:47:59 after leading on the swim and a portion of the bike. Per Wangle of Sweden was third, finishing in 1:48:04.
The women’s race began early, and the field was forced to battle a tough current for the two-lap swim. The lead bike pack quickly formed to include seven athletes, including Jorgensen, McShane and Jerdonek, and held together before breaking apart on the run. After a slight edge leaving T2, McShane was caught by Jorgensen who eventually made her move to win just before the final lap.
“I was just trying to stay focused and give it my all,” Jorgensen said. “You never come in expecting to win. There’s always great competition out there and great people, and I just try to come out and do my best.”
By the time the men’s race began, the current had slowed and Zaferes led the way out of the water. Following a bike crash that forced Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.) to withdraw from the race, Zaferes rode solo for two laps before he was caught by a chase group of 12 men. The pack thinned out a bit on the run, leaving room for Shoemaker to run with Zaferes through the final lap and take the win.
Shoemaker commented on Zaferes’ performance saying, “That was a breakthrough race for him. It’s good to see that, and it’s good to see some of the other folks starting to work their way up and do well.”
A $50,000 total prize purse was on the line for the elites with $6,250 going to the top male and female finisher. An additional $60,000 was awarded to athletes who met the requirements of the Elite Race Series, with $10,000 given to the top male and female finisher overall.
The USA Triathlon Elite Race Series is a domestic, five-event series that delivers an opportunity for the nation’s top Olympic-distance triathletes to compete for $275,000 in prize money and a series title – all while honing the draft-legal racing skills necessary to challenge for the podium at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Visit usatriathlon.org for more on the 2011 USA Triathlon Elite Race Series.
Race recap provided by USA Triathlon. Click here for a full race recap.