Stockwell, McLaughlin Earn Gold to Lead U.S. Team Friday
September 9, 2011 (Beijing, China) – The United States captured a pair of world titles and eight medals at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, and Greg Billington earned a fourth-place finish in the ITU Under-23 World Championships to highlight Friday’s action from Beijing.
Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.) earned her second straight paratriathlon world title, and newcomer Danielle McLaughlin (Santa Monica, Calif.) struck gold in her world championship debut to highlight eight medal-winning performances for Team USA at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships on Friday.
Stockwell led a U.S. sweep of the women’s TRI-2 category podium with a time of 1 hour, 41 minutes, 31 seconds over the sprint-distance course. Sarah Reinertsen (Mission Viejo, Calif.) captured silver, while Scout Bassett (Palm Desert, Calif.) claimed bronze in a return to her native China.
“Triathlon is so strong in the United States, and I think we’ve really been the leaders in developing paratri, so I think it just shows a lot that we have a deep field and we could sweep the podium here,” said Reinertsen. “That’s great to see the red, white and blue take three medals home at a world championship.”
“The swim was awesome. The bike was tough – two laps of really big hills,” said Stockwell. “I knew my competition would be coming up from behind. We got into transition pretty close, but I felt pretty good on the run.”
Stockwell, who competed in Beijing for the first time since representing the U.S. in swimming at the 2008 Paralympics, dedicated her win to U.S. Paralympic swimming coach Jimi Flowers, who mentored her in preparation for the 2008 Games and passed away in 2009.
McLaughlin was victorious in the women’s TRI-5 category in 1:35:08. “I still am kind of in shock,” said McLaughlin, who completed her first triathlon in April. “I feel like I’m in a daydream after winning nationals and getting to wear the USAT uniform. It’s a great experience.”
Also winning silver for the Americans on Friday were Andre Kajlich (TRI-1, Seattle, Wash.), Beth Price (TRI-3, Spanish Fort, Ala.) and JP Theberge (Escondido, Calif.). “The bike went really well. I just hammered it and felt really good,” said Kajlich, who had the fastest TRI-1 bike and run splits.
Additionally, Patricia Walsh (TRI-6, Seattle, Wash.) was a bronze medalist in her first world championship appearance. “I couldn’t be more proud to be here,” said Walsh, who won her first national title last month. “As a person with a disability, I certainly didn’t realize this would be possible in my lifetime.”
In all, 18 Americans competed in the event, which featured more than 70 paratriathletes from across the globe.
2011 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
2. Andre Kajlich (Seattle, Wash.), 1:16:17
1. Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.), 1:41:31
2. Sarah Reinertsen (Mission Viejo, Calif.), 1:42:29
3. Scout Bassett (Palm Desert, Calif.), 2:00:26
2. Beth Price (Spanish Fort, Ala.), 1:45:23
1. Danielle McLaughlin (Santa Monica, Calif.), 1:35:08
2. JP Theberge (Escondido, Calif.), 1:12:16
3. Patricia Walsh (Seattle, Wash.), 1:25:05