Champions Crowned At 2022 Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships In Long Beach
by USA Triathlon
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Ten U.S. paratriathletes earned national titles on Sunday at the 2022 Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships, concluding the racing action at the Toyota Legacy Triathlon in Long Beach. The race was held at Alamitos Beach, the proposed site of the triathlon competitions for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028.
Also held on Sunday was the Americas Triathlon Cup Long Beach, featuring elite triathletes and Paris 2024 Olympic hopefuls.
For the third time in history at the Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships, the race featured a professional prize purse of $36,750, provided in equal parts by USA Triathlon, Toyota and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).
Paratriathletes on Sunday raced a sprint-distance course covering a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and a 5k run. Paratriathlete competitors included Tokyo 2020 Paralympians and 2022 Toyota U.S. Elite Paratriathlon National Team members Kyle Coon (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Chris Hammer (Gilbert, Ariz.), who each won U.S. national titles in their respective classifications.
Coon captured the U.S. national title in the men’s PTVI category, with his guide, Zack Goodman (Salisbury, Md.), clocking a time of 1 hour, 1 minute, 46 seconds. The duo has now raced four times together this season, with four wins.
“We continue to grow together. We’re not afraid to tell each other how we think we can improve. We complement each other really well. I’m still growing as an athlete and so is Zack and it’s one of those things where we’re continuing to grow together and we haven’t hit our ceiling yet of what we can do together,” said Coon, who appreciates the opportunity to race in Long Beach, the proposed site of the triathlon competitions for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028.
“I love racing here at Legacy — especially the name of the race. One of my big goals is to leave a long-lasting legacy of success and hopefully encourage and inspire others that no matter where you start you can always have your own personal bar you can keep raising. I want to leave that legacy for generations to come. In six years, it’d be awesome to be racing here again (at LA 2028), but if I do my job right there’s going to be a lot of guys behind me that are a lot younger and a lot faster who are forcing me to retire because I’m like 10th or 15th in the U.S. instead of first or second. I love that USA Paratriathlon Nationals is here at Legacy and I look forward every year to racing.”
In the men’s PTS5 classification, Hammer cruised to victory in a time of 1:01:13, including a 16:11 run split.
A three-time Paralympian who has finished fourth in triathlon at the past two Paralympic Games in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, Hammer, along with his family, made the decision to quit his job coaching the Davis & Elkins women’s collegiate triathlon team and move from his home in West Virginia to Arizona where he now trains full-time as a professional triathlete with USA Triathlon’s Project Podium. He is the first paratriathlete to train with the group of Olympic hopefuls.
“I brought it up to my wife and she’s so supportive and said this means a lot to you and our family, so I think this is a chance we should take,” said Hammer, who this year became the first paratriathlete to earn a USA Triathlon elite license and compete in the pro field of an IRONMAN 70.3 event. “A lot of my competition internationally, they train as full-time pros. I’ve found that to compete at that level you have to put in the 20-plus, 30-plus hours consistently. The funding Toyota has provided me has supported me individually to help me pursue my dream as a full-time professional athlete.”
Cahin Perez (Christiana, Tenn.) and Juasica Rodriguez (El Paso, Texas) won national titles in the men’s and women’s PTS2 classification, defending their U.S. national titles from 2021.
Chris Marston (Mechanicsville, Va.) claimed his second straight U.S. national title in the men’s PTS3 classification and Leah Kaplan (Spokane, Wash.) won the women’s PTS5 U.S. national title for the second straight year.
Emma Meyers (Pensacola, Fla.) won the women’s PTS4 U.S. national title. She is a member of the USA Paratriathlon Junior & U23 Development Team Program. In partnership with Challenged Athletes Foundation, the team program is meant to provide opportunities to aspiring junior and U23 paratriathletes to further grow in their sport development.
Deborah Chucoski (Corning, N.Y.), who made her World Triathlon Para Series debut earlier this month in Montreal, won the women’s PTVI U.S. national title, with guide Ericka Hachmeister (Corning, N.Y.).
Emelia Perry (Philadelphia, Pa.), won the women’s PTWC U.S. national title and Carson Clough (Charlotte, N.C.) won the men’s PTS4 U.S. national title.
The top-performing athletes in Saturday’s race who were not already members of the Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Team will be considered for the Toyota USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program, designed to identify and develop athletic potential leading toward the Paralympic Games Paris 2024.
For more information about the Legacy Triathlon and Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships, visit thelegacytriathlon.com.
2022 Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
Male PTVI: Kyle Coon (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and guide Zack Goodman (Salisbury, Md.), 1:01:46
Female PTVI: Deborah Chucoski (Corning, N.Y.), 1:17:06
Female PTWC: Emelia Perry (Philadelphia, Pa.), 1:31:41
Male PTS2: Cahin Perez (Christiana, Tenn.), 1:26:26
Male PTS3: Chris Marston (Mechanicsville, Va.), 1:18:01
Female PTS3: Juasica Rodriguez (El Paso, Texas), 1:31:27
Male PTS4: Carson Clough (Charlotte, N.C.), 1:05:21
Female PTS4: Emma Meyers (Pensacola, Fla.), 1:23:15
Male PTS5: Chris Hammer (Gilbert, Ariz.), 1:01:13
Female PTS5: Leah Kaplan (Spokane, Wash.), 1:26:33