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Erica Hawley learning lessons as she chases Olympic dream

Room for improvement: Erica Hawley remains determined to make a breakthrough among the elite level and enhance her prospects of Olympic qualification

Erica Hawley admits there is plenty of room for improvement as she battles to secure a place at the 2024 Olympic Games.

With a desire to seal her place in Paris next year, the 24-year-old is fully committed on making a breakthrough at the top level.

While her early-season exploits have reaped some rewards, most notably a fifth-place finish in the Americas Triathlon Cup in Missouri, she concedes there are lessons to be learnt from her successive 45th-place finishes in Abu Dhabi and Yokohama.

“There is a lot to work on for the season,” said Hawley. “I think that in a non-Olympic year I would have been a lot happier with my result [in Yokohama] but there is just so much on the line with qualifying for the Olympics.

“It was a great learning experience to compete at this level and it was my first completed Olympic-distance WTCS race, but I wish the end result was better.

“I know I am capable of placing higher, but I am trying to take as many positives from the race as I can.

As well as searching for vital small improvements in her physical capabilities, Hawley concedes there are also mental barriers to break down as a result of the lingering effects of her race in Bermuda last November, when she crashed out on the bike leg.

“In almost every race this season, I have just missed a main bike pack and I think this shows where my weakness is,” Hawley said.

“The weather in Japan was a bit wild. It rained for the majority of the race and at some points it was absolutely pouring. While it made the race even more exciting and really tested the athletes, we had to also try to navigate a technical bike course with lots of paint [road markings].

“After crashing in Bermuda last year, I still have a lot of confidence to gain on the bike and riding in the rain. I felt like I lost a lot of time in that section.”

Hawley will take to the start line in the next World Triathlon Cup event in Huatulco, Mexico, on June 17, as she considers the best options to gain vital Olympic points, with the qualification period having started on May 27 last year and finishing on the same day in 2024.

“My immediate focus is Mexico and then I am still trying to decide what makes the most sense regarding my racing schedule looking ahead,” she said.

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Published June 09, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated June 08, 2023 at 11:21 pm)

Erica Hawley learning lessons as she chases Olympic dream

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