Victories for Claire Cashmore and Dave Ellis and his guide Luke Pollard were among the British medal success at the Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea as the world’s best paratriathletes descended on the Welsh city.
There were two golds and two silvers for British paratriathletes during an afternoon which saw over 100 paratriathletes representing 25 different nations compete in Britain’s first ever standalone World Triathlon Para Series.
Starting off the day with British gold medal success was Ellis and Luke Pollard, who were back on top of the podium less than a week after they added the Commonwealth title to their multiple World and European golds in the men’s PTVI.
Ellis and Pollard gave the home crowd plenty to celebrate in the first race of the day as, despite taking a small detour when heading onto the run, they were still the quickest across three disciplines during another dominant display from the British pair.
Speaking after securing his latest win, Ellis said: “It was awesome to be doing a big race on home soil, it’s felt like a long time coming so it was great. We’ve had a good year of racing so far to get obviously Commies [Commonwealth Games], to get a first championship medal was a big target for us this year.
“To get that one was awesome. But then to have this a week later we had to try and focus on this as well. And we managed to do that, so we're really happy with that.”
Oscar Kelly and his guide Charlie Harding bounced back from the misfortune on the bike at the Commonwealth Games with a fourth-place finish in Swansea, with only Ellis and Pollard completing the 5km run faster.
There was lots of home support for Welsh paratriathlete Rhys Jones and his guide Rhys James, who finished ninth in the men’s PTVI.
In one of the final races of the day, Cashmore, who has also helped with the event planning on the event board, delivered home gold, carrying the Union Flag over the line to mark her victory in the women’s PTS5.
The race started with another brilliant battle in prospect between reigning world and European champion Cashmore and Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Grace Norman (USA), but a mechanical on the bike ended Norman’s race early.
Like Ellis and Pollard, Cashmore ended the race as the fastest athlete across all three as she secured the race win.
“The race was really good, obviously in the swim there were lots of jelly fish which was challenging,” Cashmore said. “The bike was super technical, but it was pretty gutting to see my main competitor [Grace Norman, USA] forced to pull out with a mechanical.
“It wasn’t the way I wanted to win. By the time we got to the run I was definitely struggling with stitch, which was tough, so I was just trying to get through it. All my friends and family were here today and my little nephews who haven’t seen me race so that was nice to see them at the finish line. It was a pretty special moment for me.”
It was silver for George Peasgood in the men’s equivalent who was one of the strongest athletes across all three disciplines. The Paralympic silver medallist led out of the swim and was also the fastest on the bike to lead heading onto the run, before finishing second behind Canada’s fast-running Stefan Daniel.
“The race was pretty tough today,” Peasgood said. “I just never got into a rhythm in the swim and on to the bike I had a few technical issues so when I got on to the run I was pretty much on empty. I had covid four/five weeks ago and I was missing something, so I wasn’t racing at 100% so to still get second place gives me confidence. I would obviously want to be racing at 100% though which is what every athlete wants but it’s about two years’ time.”
Also racing in the men’s PTS5 was Michael Salisbury, who was ninth, repeating his position from his first World Triathlon Para Series event in Montreal last month with the second quickest run split.
There was another medal moment for women’s PTVI Commonwealth champion Katie Crowhurst, who sprinted to a super silver medal alongside guide Grace Hawthorne.
The 18-year-old, who took part in her first triathlon last summer after making the switch from para-swimming, was first out of the swim, before sprinting past Canada’s Jessica Tuomela in the closing stages to claim second.
Crowhurst said: “It's been a lot of recovery to get here. I was really thankful for Jess [Fullagar] guiding me last week and Grace guiding me today. I'm really grateful and really happy to be here.
“We were catching the Canadians and Grace was like, ‘come on we are catching them’. She didn’t let me get a drink because the last station, so it was like, I’m going to be sick. She really pushed me and I'm really grateful that she did. It was a tough last 100m but we did it.
“The home crowd has been amazing; it is so cool to be able to race in the UK again is amazing and to have it as my first World Series has been amazing. There were jellyfish in the swim, but it was fine, we got through it.”
In the PTWC races, Mel Nicholls finished fourth in her first international race, having only took part in her first triathlon in May. Bret Crossley was the first British athlete across the line in the men’s PTWC, finishing sixth, one place ahead of Josh Landmann in seventh.
After a tough race in the Swansea sunshine, Michael Taylor battled to cross the line fifth in the men’s PTS4 with Finley Jakes finishing 11th.
As well as the WTPS races, the event also included racing in the British Triathlon Paratri Super Series, featuring up-and-coming British paratriathletes, and a GO TRI Disability Aquathlon for anyone with an impairment to take part in their own swim-run event.
Kristian Elvefors, Managing Director of Volvo Car UK, said: “Volvo Car UK has supported triathlon for several years now, so to be a part of the first standalone World Para Triathlon event in Swansea makes us extremely proud. Seeing hundreds of athletes compete at the highest level at this pioneering event has been inspiring and we are very excited to see what’s next for Para Triathlon.”
The event headlined a weekend of swim, bike, run in the Welsh city, which includes IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea on Sunday, and also formed part of a week-long para sport festival, which also included the first ever International Paratriathlon Conference.
Find out more about getting into paratriathlon by visiting our get involved page here.
British Triathlon are holding a paratriathlon talent ID event on Sunday 11 September at Eton Dorney for anyone interested in getting involved. More information can be found here.
Full results from Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea can be viewed here.