Kirsten Sweetland just about secured her spot on Canada’s Commonwealth Games team this summer with a seventh-place finish in a World Triathlon Series race in Cape Town, South Africa today.
The 25-year-old Sweetland needed a top-eight qualifier, had one of the best finishes of her career. “I made some good decisions today,” said Sweetland. “I was a little overzealous on the bike and got a little excited. I think I paid for it on the run, but you know I was in the mix for my best ever WTS finish and I’m pleased.”
Sweetland came out of the swim in the top 10. The swim was shortened due to extremely cold conditions. One out of T1 she settled into the lead group who wasted instantly pulled ahead of a chase pack. The 40-kilometre bike leg was a 12-woman race when the lead group opened a gap of two minutes on the field.
“I think I was the last one to get on that lead pack which was key,” said Sweetland. “I have to be pleased. We were a little concerned with the weather today, but when you are racing everything comes together. Cape Town pulled off the event way better than we were expecting. It was a great day.”
Sweetland’s best World Triathlon Series finish was a fifth in 2009 before battling a series of injuries over the last four years. She made a statement to the world that she was back and hungry to compete with the best one year ago after finishing sixth on one of the most challenging courses on in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
Jodie Stimpson, of Great Britain, won for the second straight time this year. Challenged by her teammate, Helen Jenkins, on the run, Stimpson counter-attacked in a time of 1:46.11. Gwen Jorgensen, of the United States took bronze at 1:46.33 and Sweetland finished in a time of 1:48:05.
Fresh off her career-best World Triathlon Series finish at the season opener where she was fourth, Winnipeg’s Sarah-Anne Brault who now lives in Quebec, was 19th with a time of 1:49:27.
Canada’s Kyle Jones and Andrew McCartney race tomorrow in Cape Town.