Erica Hawley enjoys breakthrough moment in professional career
Erica Hawley hailed a breakthrough performance in her professional career after claiming a thirteenth-place finish in the World Triathlon Cup Haeundae event, the first of two races in South Korea.
Exiting the water from the 750-metre swim in 9min 18sec, she clocked 29:25 on the five-lap 20km cycle and completed the four-lap 5km run in 17:27, for a combined total of 57:53, less than 90 seconds adrift of Beth Potter’s winning time of 56:25.
Having overcome less than ideal preparation for the event, including on the race day itself, the 23-year-old admitted her shock and delight at her performance, which saw her not only collect valuable early standings points for the 2022 season, but also her first prize money as a professional.
“Finishing thirteenth place at a World Cup event means so much to me,” said Hawley. “My personal goal was to be top 15 and to actually execute that is so great and a breakthrough for me. I also won a lot of World Triathlon points which will put me in a much better position starting the 2022 year.
“The week leading up to the race was long to say the least. I knew that everyone was in a similar position with a hard travel and very different race preparation but it was all about going with the flow and being able to control what I was able to.
“The race itself was also actually a bit of a shock for me. In the warm-up on race day I was feeling a bit rough.
“I thought I had a terrible swim and was expecting to come out last. Fortunately I wasn’t and was able to establish a good pack early on in the bike.
“When I started the run I knew that I needed to start at a solid pace and then try and reel people in. I typically build into my runs but I knew that I needed to start fast enough to be in the mix.
“I paced my run great and was able to catch three or four people in the last 2.5km. I actually ran a minute quicker than my previous best. The run has typically been my weakness and something that I’ve been working on a lot. Now that I have finally run a 17:30 5km, I know that breaking 17 minutes will soon be within my realm.”
Finding herself in strong form, having also battled her way to highly respectable 22nd-place finish in the Under-23 World Triathlon Championship Finals in Edmonton, Canada, in August, Hawley is now determined to build on that momentum in another race in the World Triathlon Cup Tongyeong on Saturday.
“I’m excited for another opportunity,” added Hawley, who is relishing a different an entirely different challenge to last weekend. “This race is a complete contrast to Haeundae with a pontoon swim, a very hilly bike with hills of 15 per cent gradient and also a hilly run.
“It will be a great chance to build off my momentum from last weekend and since the field is pretty much the same, I have a good idea of what to expect of who is a strong swimmer, who has a lot of run fitness and everything else.”