Catching Up with Kirsten Sweetland
In fine form and ready to continue her climb to the top.
While Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland had to drop out of the WTS season opener this weekend in Abu Dhabi, she’s in fine form and ready to continue her climb to the top. The sprint distance race in Abu Dhabi saw top ranked Gwen Jorgensen come from behind to take her ninth WTS win in 58:59 thanks to a 15:57 5km run. American teammate Katie Zaferes (nee Hursey) was second and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy was third.
There is little doubt that Sweetland would have been in that mix if she hadn’t succumbed to an energy-zapping and debilitating allergic reaction to eggs that she consumed unknowingly in her pre-race dinner. “I was really surprised as to just how bad I felt in the race,” Sweetland explained. “I thought if I just put it out of my mind I could still have a good race but that was definitely not the case. It was like trying to race with someone else’s body! I’ve learned my lesson the hard way and will be cooking in my room from now on!”
With a positive attitude and powerful focus, Sweetland isn’t going to let a little bad luck deter her. She went immediately back to work prepping for her next race in two weeks. TMC had the chance to check in with Sweetland from her travels.
TMC: You were training in February with Nikki Butterfield, Jenny Fletcher, Pete Jacobs and others. How was that and where are you spending most of your training blocks this year?
Kirsten Sweetland: Yes, Noosa has been especially hot for high performance triathletes this year! I’ve been fortunate to learn from some of the sport’s best here in Noosa since November. I’ll spend the summer at home in Canada most likely which I’m also looking forward to.
TMC: You’ll be racing in Auckland on March 28, how have you been preparing for that? What are you most looking forward to?
KS: I really like a tough bike course so I’ve been eagerly awaiting another go at the Auckland course. I do a group ride on Tuesday mornings here in Noosa that they call the Tuesday World Champs. It’s a 40km hilly loop and everyone races it. There’s mainly cyclists with some of the best masters men in the country and a mix of ITU and Ironman athletes. It’s been Belinda Granger and I representing the XX chromosomes most of the winter but now Siri Lindley’s group is here to strengthen the numbers! I think this ride will be great prep for Auckland and it’s also really fun!
TMC: You’re racing on a Specialized now–how do you feel on the new bike?
KS: I love my new Amira! I’ve got the fit dialed in detail thanks to Noa Deutsch who helped me tinker with it to get it fitting perfect within ITU/ UCI rules. I’m really excited to race on it in Auckland where hopefully we can show our stuff on a hilly course!
TMC: What has been your biggest training focus for this year?
KS: The Rio test event and Chicago GF are easily my two targets so although Abu Dhabi was disappointing, it’s really no big deal in the big scheme of things. I want to be peaking five months from now. I’m focusing less on the series and more on Olympic selection events this year.
TMC: What’s your favourite race on the WTS schedule and why?
KS: I’d have to say Auckland course wise and Cape Town for the venue. I loved training there before the race last year. Hamburg has amazing atmosphere with hundreds of thousands of spectators. It’s so hard to pick…but that’s my podium!