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Pieter deHart won bronze in the men's 30-34 age group.
Pieter deHart won bronze in the men's 30-34 age group.
photo: USA Triathlon

Team USA Claims 14 Medals at Aquathlon Worlds


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BUDAPEST, Hungary – Team USA sprinted its way to 14 medals, including a trio of first-place finishes, at Wednesday’s ITU Aquathlon World Championships.

With cool temperatures and gray skies in the Hungarian capital, the event was shortened to a 1,000-meter wetsuit swim followed by a 2.5-kilometer run, instead of a pair of 2.5k runs on either side of the swim.

The change in format had little effect on the Americans in action, who were led by gold medalists Susan Griffin-Kaklikian (Castle Rock, Colo.), Jody Kelly (Austin, Texas) and Barbara Robben (Berkeley, Calif.).

Griffin-Kaklikian won the female 55-59 age group in 29 minutes, 28 seconds – more than 2 minutes clear of the runner-up. Kelly was victorious in the female 70-74 age group in 1:07:10, while Robben captured the female 75-79 title in 51:46.

Amy Rappaport (Califon, N.J.), who was second in the female 50-54 age group and was one of seven women’s medalists for the U.S., was ecstatic to earn her first multisport world championship medal in eight tries. “I have raced for 10 years, and I’ve never cried when I crossed the finish line until today when (the announcer) said I crossed second and came here and got a worlds medal,” said Rappaport, who considers herself more of a long-course athlete. “I don’t know if I can go hard, but I figured with just a mile and a half, I’m going to feel like I want to throw up when I cross the line, so I ran as absolutely hard as I could and I got a medal for it and I’m very proud to be here and wear USA colors.”

Earning bronze for the U.S. women were Shelly Bloom (55-59, Durham, N.C.), Jenny Harvey (30-34, Allston, Mass.) and Peggy McDowell-Cramer (65-69, Santa Monica, Calif.). Harvey placed 21st overall and was the fastest U.S. female finisher in 27:50.

On the men’s side, Pieter deHart (Lexington, Va.), who was the overall runner-up at last month’s USAT Aquathlon National Championship, overcame the chilly water to record Team USA’s fastest time of the day – 22:47 – and take third in the male 30-34 age group, as well as 12th overall. “The water was so cold that I couldn’t feel my feet on the run for about three-quarters of the run,” said deHart, who was one of the leaders out of the water in his wave with a swim split of 12:39. “I have a feeling I was concentrating a little too much on that instead of just getting in the zone and running, but I’m pretty happy with my finish – top three in my age group and top (12) overall – so I was pretty pumped.

“It’s my first kind of world-stage event, and I’m excited; I really want to do this again in the future.”

Also making their world championship debuts were Alex Werden (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and Austen Novis (Jamestown, R.I.), who finished second and third in the male 16-19 age group, respectively, and will also compete in Saturday’s ITU Sprint Triathlon World Championship. Werden (15th) and Novis (20th) also finished in the top 20 overall among male age-groupers.

“It was really nice; by the time you got tired, you finished,” said Novis about the shortened run, which he finished in 8:37 to top the age group. “It was just really cool seeing all the other teams, running by New Zealanders, Brazilians. It was just a really cool experience.”

Also earning silver on the men’s side were Gary Burnett (70-74, Monrovia, Calif.) and Daniel Wirls (50-54, Santa Cruz, Calif.), while Andrew Farrell (40-44, Orlando, Fla.) and Marshall Wakat (65-69, Charleston, S.C.) captured bronze for the U.S.

“It’s a lot of fun. I’ve done several world championships in aquathlon,” said Farrell, who was first out of the water in his age group. “I like to travel around and race and race with people from all over. (Aquathlon is) a good kind of race. It’s more of an all-out kind of race as opposed to some of the longer triathlon stuff.”

Team USA will be back in action this weekend for Sprint Worlds on Saturday and the Age Group Olympic-Distance World Championships on Sunday. Click here for USA Triathlon’s coverage of all the age group action in Budapest.

2010 ITU Aquathlon World Championships, Budapest, Hungary
United States Age Group Medalists – click here for complete results

Male 16-19
2. Alex Werden (Chapel Hill, N.C.), 23:07
3. Austen Novis (Jamestown, R.I.), 23:14
Female 30-34
3. Jenny Harvey (Allston, Mass.), 27:50
Male 30-34
3. Pieter deHart (Lexington, Va.), 22:47
Male 40-44
3. Andrew Farrell (Orlando, Fla.), 23:45
Female 50-54
2. Amy Rappaport (Califon, N.J.), 32:09
Male 50-54
2. Daniel Wirls (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 24:45
Female 55-59
1. Susan Griffin-Kaklikian (Castle Rock, Colo.), 29:28
3. Shelly Bloom (Durham, N.C.), 33:11
Female 65-69
3. Peggy McDowell-Cramer (Santa Monica, Calif.), 39:33
Male 65-69
3. Marshall Wakat (Charleston, S.C.), 34:46
Female 70-74
1. Jody Kelly (Austin, Texas), 1:07:10
Male 70-74
2. Gary Burnett (Monrovia, Calif.), 37:43
Female 75-79
1. Barbara Robben (Berkeley, Calif.), 51:46

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – one of the fastest growing sports in the world – as well as duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. USAT sanctions 3,100 races and connects with more than 133,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USAT provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic Games.