Smith claims surprise podium
Tyler Smith “exceeded his expectations” after finishing second at the British Universities and Colleges Sport Standard Distance Championships in Southport at the weekend.
The University of Leeds student, competing in his first Olympic-distance race, finished in an overall time of 1hr 51min 8sec — 25 seconds behind winner Matthew Nelson of the University of Hull.
It was Smith’s first outing since placing 21st in a sprint-distance race at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, last month.
“The race went really well for me,” said Smith, who is studying sports science and physiology. “It was up a distance, so it was a new challenge. It was a pretty sharp field, the best triathletes from every university in the UK.”
With the race being a non-drafting format (no pack riding permitted), Smith said he was not anticipating a podium finish. “I was really happy to get on the podium and take silver,” he said. “It was pretty unexpected considering I don’t really have much experience time-trialing. I’m more used to the draft-legal format.”
Smith was third out of the water, completing the 1,500 metres swim in 17:01, just a few seconds behind the leaders.
Although he was not riding a time-trial bike, Smith finished the 40km course in an impressive time of 58:29 before posting a personal best of 32:41 in the 10km run — the fastest time of the day. “I was just trying to PB in each of the individual events,” Smith added.
“I didn’t really have a benchmark to beat as it was my first one. I just couldn’t run down the guy in front.”
Smith added: “I wasn’t on a time-trial bike, which is something I may look into in the future. The focus right now is the draft-legal stuff. Whether it’s worth making the investment to get a time-trial bike or just borrowing one off someone else is something I’ll have to consider. I only do one or two of these type of races each year.”
The 19-year-old will now focus on preparing for the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Columbia, from July 19 to August 3. He will have several events in Europe before racing at the Olympic distance at the CAC Games.
“I’ve been pretty focused since I got back to Leeds [after the Gold Coast Games],” Smith said. “Hopefully I’ll have the CAC Games — that’s going to be the main focus. The hope is I’m selected for that team.”