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Future stars shine in Clarien Iron Kids Triathlon

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Liam Horrobin, left, and Madeleine Friend with their trophies (Photograph supplied)

Dylan Eiselt and Sofia Leclerc won the overall prizes in the 34th Annual Clarien Iron Kids Triathlon at Clearwater Beach on Saturday.

Making a return to competitive triathlon after a lengthy layoff caused by a problem with his knees, Eiselt stormed to victory in a time of 20min 55sec in the 11 to 15 racing bike category. His time was faster than Jackson Langley’s (21:58) last year.

For being the first male across the finish line, Eiselt, who turns 14 next Saturday, received an early birthday present in the form of $1,000 in prize money.

Behind Eiselt was Sanchez Smith in 22:28, with the Heritage Day Junior Classic winner getting $500. Jens Drea(22:34) won $250 for finishing third.

Girl power: Naomi MacGuinness, left, Madison Schindel and Sofia Leclerc with their prizes (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

Sofia Leclerc, the girls’ champion, finished in 24:41, which placed her seventh overall. Leclerc, last year’s female runner-up, pushed 2023 champion Madison Schindel into second position.

Naomi MacGuinness, competing in the 11-15 age group for the first time, produced a great display to finish third in 26:00.

The top three females picked up the same amount of prize money as their male counterparts, with Clarien Bank placing their prizes into savings accounts, which the winners will access only when they turn 16.

Eiselt was thrilled to pick up his maiden title and put his success down to his preparation.

Dylan Eiselt, right, with his young brother Lukas (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

“I’m really happy to win and all my hard work’s paid off,’’ Eiselt told The Royal Gazette.

“I did a lot of training with Winners Edge, my cycling team. I’m also a member of the Harbour Swimming Club and I did a lot of hours of training there.

“My swim was really good, I made up all my time in the swim, and caught up with a lot of people who started before me.

“My bike was super strong, but the wind slowed me down a bit. The transition off my bike felt really good, and then I felt good on the run to win it.

“I actually stopped triathlon for three years because of knee injuries. I was focusing on cycling and swimming, and only resumed triathlon last November.

“I had Osgood-Schlatter in both my knees and couldn't run for a couple of years. I’m really happy that I've also qualified for Carifta for the first time, so I’m really looking forward to competing in Barbados.”

Smith, who finished second to Eiselt, improved from last year when he failed to finish because of a mishap on the bike.

Sanchez Smith, middle, receives his trophy from Nick Pilgrim while Will Green looks on (Photograph supplied)

“I’m really happy to finish second, but I was really nervous,’’ Smith said.

“Dylan caught me in the swim and in the ride he just opened a big gap. I saw him in the transition area and I knew that he was stronger than me on the bike, so I knew he was moving past me.

“Last year I crashed my bike so I didn't finish the race. Next year, since it’s my last year, I’m going to work harder to try and win it.”

Third-placed Drea surpassed his expectations and will try to come up with ways to beat Eiselt in the Liberty Mutual National Sprint Triathlon Championships, which will be held on June 30.

“I’m really happy to finish third and I did a lot better than I thought I would,’’ Drea said.

“It was really fun, I like the sprint races as they are easier and pretty fast-paced.

“Dylan is just a really fast cyclist, a fast swimmer and good runner in general. His cycling is just unbelievable and much more quicker than mine.

“Over the next few weeks I’m just going to go hard on the cycle, try to get up every morning and cycle as hard as possible, and maybe for the Liberty Mutual I can get him.”

Leclerc was ecstatic to get the better of Schindel, her Carifta team-mate, as the two swapped positions from last year.

“I feel good about winning and I’m really proud of myself,’’ she said. “I trained pretty hard in the last year, but I also tried my best.

“I found the race fun. It was pretty windy on the bike but other than that it was really nice and calm.

“I had trouble putting on my shoes in the transition and started running really faster to make up time.

“I think I was better than Madison on the bike. She’s really good with the swim and the run, but I think on the bike I’m faster.”

Madison Schindel finishes strong on the run (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

Schindel felt that an issue with her helmet gave Leclerc the advantage ahead of the final leg.

“It was a pretty good race and it was very humid and windy,” she said. “My helmet got a bit stuck on the bike transition, so I think that gained Sofia some time.

“I did feel a bit of pressure coming into the race, but it was fun. My swim and my run were definitely better in this race.”

MacGuinness, who has qualified for the Carifta Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships, spoke of challenges she faced trying to deal with the wind while riding.

“I feel good to finish third and it was really windy on the bike,” MacGuinness said.

“It was probably on the run where I closed the gap, but I’m going to keep on working hard to win this race one day.”

Owen Fosker, left, Liam Horrobin and Adrian Myers with their trophies (Photograph supplied)

In the 7 to 10 age group, Liam Horrobin won the boys racing bike category in a time of 14:14, with Madeleine Friend winning the girls competition in 16:12.

Horrobin, 10, was delighted to fight off a strong challenge from Owen Fosker, who finished second in 14:31.

“It was hard and I had to keep up with Owen Fosker, but it was really fun,’’ Horrobin said.

“I've won the non-competitive before, but this is my first time winning the competitive and I feel great about winning. I’m going to compete in this race until I get the $1,000.

“It was really tough competing against Owen Fosker, Adrian Myers and Nolan, my brother. My run definitely won it for me as Owen was in front of me but my time was good.”

Friend, 10, thanked her coaches at Tri-Hedz, a junior triathlon club on the island, for ensuring that she gets better.

“I’m really proud to win the race, I really worked hard to get here,” she said.

“I would like to thank my coaches at Try Headz, coach Neil and Chris. They help me train and improve in triathlon. I have been working with the two coaches for two years now.

“I really liked the run part of the race, it was really good, I had a good pace and felt really good.

“I’m excited to go up to the 11 to 15 age group next year and that will be a good challenge for me.”

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Published June 15, 2024 at 7:53 pm (Updated June 17, 2024 at 8:52 pm)

Future stars shine in Clarien Iron Kids Triathlon

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