The 2018 WTS season began seven months ago in Abu Dhabi, and since then the world’s top ITU triathletes have raced hundreds of kilometres across the globe. This weekend their WTS season comes to an end with the Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.
For the Canadians, the season began with a bronze medal from Joanna Brown at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Followed by a career-best finish by Tyler Mislawchuk at WTS Yokohama (fourth) and his first podium finish on the World Cup circuit in Antwerp, Belgium. Then there’s also the personal best placings of Matthew Sharpe and Amelie Kretz at the ITU World Cups and WTS races. Overall, it’s been a stellar year for Team Canada as they look to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Here are two Canadian triathletes you need to keep an eye on at this year’s Grand Final.
Joanna Brown – ITU World Ranking 8th & WTS Ranking 19th
Brown will be racing Saturday, September 15th at 9 AM EST in the women’s elite race. Her season thus far has been one of many successes, but also obstacles. “The season has been a roller coaster for me,” says Brown. The rocky times began for her last December (2017) with radial and ulnar fractures. “I was in a cast for five weeks, but fortunately (thanks to modern medicine) I was able to start swimming slowly about a week after the cast went on.” Then following WTS Abu Dhabi, she found out she had another fracture. “Throughout all this turmoil, I was fortunate to be surrounded by my training partners and my family. They helped me through everything.” At the Commonwealth Games in Australia, she won a bronze medal in the women’s race – a considerable accomplishment, especially considering the fractures.
Since the high of the Commonwealth Games, Brown has made a coaching change to Joel Filliol and is adjusting to the new training. “I honestly can’t express how grateful I am to Joel Filliol for taking me on. I am very fortunate to be part of an absolute world class squad and support crew. I’ve never felt more confident or in control of my environment.” Though the results didn’t seem to come in the middle part of the season, Brown attributes this to “unfortunate circumstances – crashes and positioning,” and just adjusting to a new training.
After her fourth-place finish at WTS Montreal and some good training heading into the Grand Final, Brown is ready to do her absolute best. “My only objective for Gold Coast is to put myself in a position to compete. I know that if I put myself in the best possible position and line up on the pontoon knowing that I’m ready to compete, I can trust my fitness and my competitiveness to have a solid race.” Last year, Brown finished fifth at the Grand Final in Rotterdam.
Now heading into the last race of the WTS season, Mislawchuk has the chance to improve upon his ranking. Currently, he’s eighth in the world – 18 points behind Henri Schoeman (RSA) and 196-points ahead of Andreas Schilling (DEN).