U.S. elite triathlete Kirsten Kasper races in 2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals Pontevedra.
Wagner Araujo/World Triathlon

U.S. elite triathlete Kirsten Kasper races in 2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals Pontevedra.

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Kirsten Kasper Leads Elite U.S. Women at 2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals Pontevedra

by USA Triathlon

PONTEVEDRA, Spain — U.S. elite triathletes Kirsten Kasper and Taylor Spivey placed 15th and 16th, respectively to lead the U.S. elite women at the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals Pontevedra on Sunday, Sept. 24 in Pontevedra, Spain.

With her 16th place on Sunday, Spivey finishes the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series ranked fourth — her second consecutive season to finish fourth in the Series, which is determined by an athlete's best four results in the WTCS and the results of the Championship Finals. 

The U.S. finishes the 2023 WTCS as the only country to place five women in the top 20 of the rankings: Spivey (fourth); Summer Rappaport (11th); Taylor Knibb (14th); Kasper (16th) and Katie Zaferes (17th). 

Four of those U.S. women raced on Sunday in Pontevedra, with the exception of Knibb, who last month was the first U.S. elite woman to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games at the Olympic Games Test Event Paris. The Championship Finals in Pontevedra offered the second Paris 2024 Olympic Games auto-qualification opportunity for the U.S. elite women, with one auto-qualifying spot going to the first U.S. athlete to finish among the top three. 

While there were no U.S. qualifiers on Sunday, there will be a third and final auto-qualification opportunity in spring 2024 at a to-be-determined World Triathlon Championship Series event. The U.S. will send three women to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Remaining open spots will be filled by Discretionary Selection after the auto-selection events. Read here for more information about U.S. qualification procedures for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In the race on Sunday, it was Kasper and Spivey who led the U.S. women. Both emerged out of the swim just a few seconds down from the leaders and made quick work on the bike to join the front bike group. The pair took turns with the field to pull the lead group, which included 14 women. Rappaport, who was initially in the lead bike group, retired from the race due to injury. 

The chase bike group included Zaferes and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen. By the final lap of the bike, Jorgensen had lost contact with the chase group, which closed the gap to the lead group to just 15 seconds. 

The field's strongest runners ran away from the pack during the 10k run, with Great Britain's Beth Potter winning to capture the 2023 world title, her countrywoman Kate Waugh finishing second and France's Cassandre Beaugrand placing third to secure second place in the 2023 WTCS standings.

Kasper finished the 1500-meter swim, 39.8-kilometer bike, 10k run in 1 hour, 55 minutes, 17 seconds, with Spivey 2 seconds behind. Zaferes finished 19th. 

Sunday's elite racing also included the 2023 Women's U23 World Championships and Open Para Triathlon Mixed Relay.

Alexandra Poole and Lydia Russell led the U23 women on Sunday, placing 31st and 32nd, respectively. Complete results of the U23 World Championships can be found here.

Elite U.S. paratriathletes won the Open Para Triathlon Mixed Relay, as Kyle Coon (PTVI) with guide Zack Goodman; Kendall Gretsch (PTWC); Grace Norman (PTS5) and Carson Clough (PTS4) teamed up to take the gold in a time of 49:29. Complete results of the Open Para Triathlon Mixed Relay can be found here
2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals Pontevedra 
Pontevedra, Spain 
1500m swim, 39.8k bike, 10k run 
Complete Results
Elite Women's Podium 
1. Beth Potter (GBR), 1:53:19
2. Kate Waugh (GBR), 1:53:37
3. Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA), 1:53:50
U.S. Finishers 
15. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 1:55:17 
16. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 1:55:19
19. Katie Zaferes (Cary, N.C.), 1:55:46 
43. Gwen Jorgensen (Boulder, Colo.), 1:59:03
50. Gina Sereno (Madison, Wis.), 2:01:19

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