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There is nothing to lose: Tyler Smith to give his all at Pan Am Games

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Tyler Smith has set himself a target of a top-eight finish in Pan Am Games

Triathlete Tyler Smith is heading into his first Pan American Games in the best mental and physical shape of his senior career.

Smith’s increased consistency has been notable since last year’s Commonwealth Games and he attributes this to his new training regime with coach Nick Wilson, who is also a key member of Olympic champion Dame Flora Duffy’s team.

“A huge thing for me is just getting through this year healthy and being able to turn up to all my races without having to worry about injury,” Smith said.

“This is the first time since I was a junior in 2017 that I’ve been able to say that, so that’s a huge accomplishment.

“The biggest thing that’s improved is my consistency and being able to stay healthy, which was something I was really struggling with in the past, avoiding overtraining and injuries.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen a huge breakthrough performance yet, I’m still waiting on that, but in terms of the average across all the races I’ve done this year, the results have been better than they have ever been and my world ranking is the highest it’s ever been, so by a lot of metrics I’m in a much better place.

“I’m still waiting for a big performance but I’ve got confidence that it will come.”

Smith will lean on his experience at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year but is expecting a different dynamic at the race on Thursday in Vina del Mar, Chile.

“It’s my first Pan Am Games and It’s going to be a new experience,” Smith said.

You have to give it the respect it deserves as a major Games because everybody else is going to be upping their levels for a competition like this.

“I’ve been to the Commonwealth Games before so I have that experience behind me but the Pan Am Games will be a different dynamic so it will be a new race experience and I’m pretty excited to get down there.

“Everyone is going to be coming with their A game and it’s been a focus of my year to be peaking at around this time. With our sport you can be racing every week but you can’t necessarily be at your peak fitness every week.

“I’ve had the Pan Am Games circled in the calendar for a while with the target to be in peak physical form for this race. A lot of the processes are the same but there is definitely a need to up your game when you go into a competition like this.”

Tyler Smith in fine shape ahead of the triathlon in Vina del Mar

Smith prepared for the Pan Am Games in Boulder, Colorado, alongside fellow Bermudian Erica Hawley and he stresses the importance of building a team spirit despite the event being a personal battle

“I’m living at Erica’s house and it’s been a huge help for me to have that support and teamwork,” Smith said.

Even though it’s an individual sport, we are here training together and keeping each other accountable, especially as this late in the season a lot of other triathletes have stopped training, so it’s just us two and Tyler [Butterfield, team manager].

“He’s gone above and beyond and been helping me with a couple of key workouts that I had on the run. He’s still fit and could probably do this race if he wanted to, but he’s transitioned to more of a logistics and management role and been really useful in the lead-up.

“We have something really special with the team and all Bermudian athletes in Boulder at the moment. That definitely makes it feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself.”

Smith has lofty ambitions for this race with the end of the triathlon season fast approaching and, unlike most athletes, he is prepared to reveal the target he has set himself for this competition.

“For this race I have set myself the goal of trying to be in the top eight,” he said.

“It’s a competitive field because there are Olympic qualification points on the line so there are a few guys in the top 20 who are there. To beat those guys will be tough and would take something special but realistically in the top eight is where I want to be, maybe even further up than that depending on the race dynamics and if certain things fall in my favour.

“I feel I have a bit more freedom in the race than a lot of the other guys do as they are chasing Olympic ranking points. I mean I am looking for Olympic ranking points but at the same time my best shot at qualifying for the Olympics is world ranking points and there is none on offer in this race.

“So for me there is nothing to lose, where some of these guys risk falling outside of the top ten if they are going for the podium. It’s unlikely these points contribute to my Olympic qualification pathway so I’m there for just the best result I can get. It just means I can take a bit more risk with tactical decisions without being afraid of losing anything if they don’t pay off.”

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Published November 01, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated November 01, 2023 at 8:24 am)

There is nothing to lose: Tyler Smith to give his all at Pan Am Games

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