Smith determined to come back stronger
Tyler Smith is under no illusion of the improvements he must make to achieve his ambitions after being disappointed with finishing 21st in the men’s triathlon at the Commonwealth Games.
The 19-year-old said he will go back to the drawing board after being “found out” during the bike, and admits the level of the world-class field took him by surprise.
Smith targeted a top-15 finish at his first major competition and appeared well set after coming out of the water in that very position.
He led a chase group, which included team-mate Tyler Butterfield, until the end of the first bike lap, but got dropped from that bunch before lap three.
Smith finished in an overall time of 56min 41sec, with splits of 9:07 for the 750-metre swim, 39:04 for the 20km bike and 17:05 for the 5km run.
“I got found out today,” Smith said. “I’ll go back and just work on that bike and get the power to where it needs to be to hang with the big guys.
“I came through transition in front on the first lap and I’m thinking, ‘I’m feeling pretty good here’. But then it’s just burning, burning matches coming out of the corners.
“For the first lap and half I was with the group. But there was a big headwind on the way back and if you don’t have the power you’re going to suffer.”
Smith and Butterfield were looking to work together before the younger team-mate fell away.
Butterfield went on to finish eighteenth in 55:51.
“It was good to have Tyler there on the bike and I knew he was coming up behind,” the University of Leeds student said.
“He’s just another level on the bike … for him to do that by himself. I just need to get that bike up to scratch. It’s tough to come out [of the swim] and be there.”
Despite a strong swim, Smith said he had hoped to be slightly farther up the field.
“I wanted a bit of a buffer,” said Smith, who was cheered on by parents Aaron and Karen at Southport Broadwater Parklands in this morning’s race. “I just didn’t have the legs on the bike today or the run. It was pretty disappointing.”
Smith, who carried Bermuda’s flag at the opening ceremony the previous night, said he felt more motivated than ever to address his perceived weaknesses.
“To get dropped on the bike like that is something that will be in my head every training session for the next two years,” he said.
“Some of the corners I was taking well and others I was leaving a five-metre gap. You do that three of four times coming into a headwind and you have no chance against these guys. If you’re really powerful on the bike, you can get away with it. This was definitely the hardest field I’ve raced.”
The teenager will again team up with Butterfield in the super sprint mixed team relay tomorrow, along with Flora Duffy and Erica Hawley. Smith said that race was in the back of his mind while struggling on the run.
“I was thinking, ‘We’ve got the mixed team relay in two days’ time. Try to salvage something out of this, regroup and look forward to that,” he added.
“I wasn’t feeling myself at all. I had a few stomach issues but that’s not making any excuses. My run is better than what I showed today. Once you’re out of the group on the bike, it’s infinitely harder to do it by yourself.”
Watching Flora Duffy capture the gold medal in such dominant fashion before his race has left an indelible impression on Smith.
“Flora has shown that if you can become the best in every discipline, you can execute a race like she did,” Smith said. “That was inspirational to watch.”
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