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3 U.S. Paratriathletes Claim World Titles

by USA Triathlon

CHICAGO — Kendall Gretsch and Aaron Scheidies successfully defended their titles on Friday morning at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, while Allysa Seely claimed her first career world title to highlight the seven medals won by Americans in the event.


Contested on a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course, the elite paratriathletes kicked off a packed day of racing in Chicago’s Grant Park, with three additional world championship events to follow. Gretsch (Madison, Wis.) won the women’s PT1/wheelchair division by a solid margin, clocking in at 1 hour, 13 minutes, 29 seconds with a margin of more than six minutes over the silver medalist. Scheidies (Seattle, Wash.) also had a strong showing, finishing more than 90 seconds ahead of his fellow PT5/visually impaired competitors with a time of 1:03:16.


“I just had to come on U.S. soil and defend my title. I’ve been doing triathlons for 15 years, and I’m a competitor,” Scheidies said. “I’ve had things happen before and you just get back into it and go. You can’t think about what just happened. I’m confident in my run; maybe I’m the Gwen Jorgensen of paratriathlon.”  


Seely (Glendale, Ariz.) led the U.S. women to a podium sweep in the PT2/severe impairment sport class. Seely crossed the line in 1:25:03, while Hailey Danisewicz (Chicago, Ill.) captured silver in 1:25:45 and Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.) picked up the bronze in 1:26:07.


“It was a really close race. Both Melissa and Hailey were right there. Melissa came out of the water first, followed by me and Hailey. And then Hailey passed me on the bike so I had some time to make up on the run,” Seely said. “Starting the run I fell pretty far behind and I just put my head down hoping that I could make up some time to make the podium. I never dreamed of being on top of it.”


Seely’s victory seals a spot for the U.S. to send an athlete to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games in the women’s PT2 sport class. Danisewicz, who provisionally qualified for the team at the Rio de Janeiro ITU World Paratriathlon Event last month, solidifies her spot on the team now that one is available. An additional spot could be awarded to the U.S. through the rankings, which will be confirmed on June 30, 2016.


Other medalists for the U.S. on Friday morning are PT1 silver medalist Krige Schabort (Rome, Ga.) and PT4 silver medalist Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio).


The ITU Paratriathlon World Championships have not been held in the U.S. since 2005, when the sport was still in its early stages and was contested in different sport classes. Now, paratriathlon will be featured as a new sport at next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio. The sport has grown exponentially in the past five years, allowing athletes to race against the world’s best both at home and abroad.


“To be here in the U.S. in Chicago, my hometown, it’s pretty remarkable,” Stockwell said. “This is our third USA sweep of the year. It’s safe to say that the PT2 women are dominating, which is absolutely amazing. It’s really cool to see all USA on that podium, and I’m proud to be part of it.”


In addition to the paratriathlon races, Friday’s world championships action includes juniors, under-23 athletes and the elite ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. Races continue on Saturday with Standard World Championships and the men’s elite Grand Final. Visit usatriathlon.org for full coverage of each race.


2015 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run — Complete Results
U.S. Medalists
Men’s PT1

2. Krige Schabort (Rome, Ga.),59:55

Men’s PT5

1. Aaron Scheidies (Seattle, Wash.),1:03:16

Women’s PT1

1. Kendall Gretsch (Madison, Wis.),1:13:29

Women’s PT2

1. Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.),1:25:03

2. Hailey Danisewicz (Chicago, Ill.),1:25:45

3. Melissa Stockwell (Chicago, Ill.),1:26:07

Women’s PT4

2. Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio),1:09:48