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Tyler Smith delivers on promise at Pan Am Games

Tyler Smith proves he can mix it with the world’s best in Chile

Tyler Smith told us exactly what he was going to do at the Pan Am Games and he delivered on his promise.

Heading into the Triathlon at Vina Del Mar in Chile, Smith was an outlier among his fellow Bermudian athletes by nominating his goal of a top-eight finish and he more than matched his expectations by finishing seventh in a strong field.

"It gives you some form of accountability to say you want top eight, so it's in your hands to go out there, get it and deliver," Smith said.

"You've told everyone, your friends and family what you can deliver and what you're capable of, so it's a really good feeling to be able to back it up.

Smith was always up in the main pack and with just 3K of the final run to go, he briefly gave hope that a medal was not out of the equation after rejoining the main pack.

"I was on the limit but I know my physiology pretty well and I'm a steady state guy," Smith said.

“What suits me is just holding it at that red line, it was really windy heading to the turnaround. Those guys were surging and playing it a bit more tactical, looking around at each other and I caught on. You never know who is on the limit or who is just holding on and you never know when the elastic is going to snap and, sure enough, one of the Chileans I ended up running through him and getting seventh place.”

In the build-up to the race, Smith said he was the healthiest he’d been since his days in the junior ranks and it certainly showed, with him exiting the swim in fourth place and being marked on the bike.

“I spoke to Tyler [Butterfield] beforehand and he told me not to gas myself on the swim as I was one of the strongest bikers in the field,” Smith said.

“I didn't come out here and do anything ridiculous, this is a reflection of where I think I have been in training and if you look at the guys who were on the podium, they are some of the fastest runners in world triathlon.

“They have all won world cups and finished in the top six in test events. To be with them at 7km in the run, for me that's big and, sure, the race finishes at 10km but to get that 3km that's winter work. We’re close, fourth out of the water is a big improvement for me.”

While Erica Hawley had time to salute her family on her way to finishing fourth in the women’s race, Smith had no such luxury as he was involved in a fierce battle with two Chilean favourites.

“I just had tunnel vision at the end,” Smith said.

“I was running with two Chileans and the wall of noise was insane. I couldn't believe it. The whole lap was just noise, but to finish seventh, I'm pretty proud of that.”

On what was a great triathlon day for Bermuda, Smith was quick to pay tribute to Hawley and former olympian Tyler Butterfield, who was performing his role as team manager.

“She was flying out there and it was really good to see,” Smith said.

“We've had a good training block, the two of us and I want to say a thank you to Tyler Butterfield. He's gone above and beyond not only with what he's done to inspire me my whole career but in the last month.

“He’s got a wife, four kids and two dogs and he's out helping me with track sessions, coming out here and spending a week with us and carrying our wheels around is a massive help.

“Flora [Duffy] and her husband, Dan, have also been great. She hasn't had much of a season but has been there training and helped to facilitate a lot for me this year. So huge thanks.”

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Published November 03, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated November 03, 2023 at 8:07 am)

Tyler Smith delivers on promise at Pan Am Games

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