Erica Hawley eyes elite-level breakthrough to enhance Olympic ambition
Erica Hawley is determined to enhance her Olympic qualification prospects with a consistent season in the World Triathlon Championship Series.
Ahead of the new season, which begins in Abu Dhabi on March 3, the 24-year-old is fully committed on making a notable breakthrough at the top level after her previous outing in the elite women’s field ended in heartbreak when she crashed out on her WTCS Bermuda debut in November.
Hawley is adamant that despite that disappointment, there were plenty of positive experiences and valuable lessons to take from her campaign.
“Last year was really important in my development and I grew a lot as an athlete,” said Hawley, who took great confidence from a host of encouraging performances including a first podium finish when third in the elite women’s Continental Cup, 16th at the Commonwealth Games and eighth at the Americas Championships.
“Last year I had some really good races, and then some bad luck. Even at the bad races, I learnt a lot about what is required when racing at the top level in a WTCS, and also about how to cope with things like stress and travel.
“I want to build on the positives from last year and my coach and I are making sure that my training is consistent and well structured, so that I peak at the right times throughout the year.”
As well as trying to make her mark on a regular basis at the elite level, Hawley will be chasing the crucial point on offer in her quest to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.
A total of 110 athletes, 55 men and 55 women, will qualify for the Games with the qualification period having already started on May 27 last year and finishing on the same day in 2024.
Hawley is now 96th in the individual Olympic qualification standings and she is well aware of the need to compete in the highest-profile races possible in order to improve her ranking.
“In 2023, my plan is to race almost all World Cup and WTCS events with a sole focus on gaining as many Olympic points as possible and getting my ranking higher,” she added.
“I am planning on racing the first WTCS event in Abu Dhabi at the start of March and then going to race in New Plymouth, [New Zealand] at the World Cup event on March 25.
“I want to start the year off strong at this level and start again on my chase for Olympic points.”
In preparation for the new season, Hawley, who is usually based in Boulder, Colorado, has been putting in the miles at a warm weather training camp in Tucson, Arizona.
“It feels really good to be back in training for the 2023 season,” she said. “I’m in Tucson to get in a warm-weather camp ahead of the early races.
“After the first two big races [Abu Dhabi and New Plymouth], I will head back to Boulder and then start on my next training block.”