Aquathlon National Champions Crowned at first day of Toyota Legacy Triathlon Weekend

by USA Triathlon

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The 2021 USA Triathlon Aquathlon National Championships Friday evening kicked off an action-packed weekend of racing at the Toyota Legacy Triathlon, as more than 230 of the nation’s best swim-run athletes competed for aquathlon national titles. Trevor Halsted (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Caitlin Switaj (Tucson, Ariz.) were crowned overall champions, while 30 athletes earned titles in their respective age groups. 

The Aquathlon National Championships were held as part of the second Toyota Legacy Triathlon, which includes amateur, elite, paratriathlon and youth multisport events throughout the weekend at Alamitos Beach, the proposed site of the triathlon competitions for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028. The Toyota Legacy Triathlon was held for the first time in 2019, as USA Triathlon became the first National Governing Body in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement to bring a new annual event to the Los Angeles footprint ahead of the 2028 Games.

Friday’s action also included a 1,500-meter and 1,000-meter open water swim competition. On Saturday, age-group athletes will compete in the Legacy Triathlon, which includes an Olympian Pro-Am Relay event. Sunday’s events include the Toyota USA Paratriathlon National Championships and an elite race, the Americas Triathlon Cup Long Beach.

Swim-run athletes competed in Friday’s Aquathlon National Championships, completing a 1,000-meter swim followed by a 5-kilometer run. Halsted was first across the finish line, clocking a time of 30 minutes, 19 seconds. Todd Buckingham (Wyoming, Mich.) finished second in 31:29, winning his age 30-34 age group. Chris Depew (La Verne, Calif.) rounded out the men’s overall podium, finishing with a time of 31:41. 

Halsted, a former University of California-Davis track and field and cross country runner, came out of the water in third place, then used his speed on the run to make his way to first, running a 16:19 5k. Friday’s race was the first aquathlon Halsted has competed in. 

“I did one triathlon right after I finished college and I decided biking wasn’t really for me, so I spent most of my time running. But I really enjoy swimming and I’ve been mixing in some more swimming into my training recently,” Halsted said. “I’ll definitely do more of these (aquathlons). This was a lot of fun, especially the open water swimming.” 

In the women’s race, Switaj broke the tape in 37:28, crossing the finish line in disbelief. 

“Wait. I just won?” Switaj said to race volunteers as she received her finisher’s medal. The victory was emotional for Switaj, who is aiming to earn her elite license and become a professional triathlete.  

“There was so much emotion (when I crossed the finish line). I just raced Williamsburg 70.3 three weeks ago and really wanted my pro card, but I finished fifth, so I said I wanted to do an aquathlon because I love swimming and love running even more. It was a nice comeback from that,” said Switaj who felt sick to her stomach during the swim, but pushed through on the run to make her way to the front of the pack. “I just told myself that I had to keep going. It was only three miles; I had to walk it then so be it. Around mile 2 I felt good and started catching people and that felt great too and it just built off of that. I had no idea where I was place-wise but my thought was to keep picking off people.” 

Finishing second in the women’s race was Carly Johann (Culver City, Calif.) who clocked a time of 37:40 and won her 35-39 age group. Julie Demers (San Jose, Calif.) rounded out the women’s overall podium, finishing with a time of 37:46. 

Top finishers in each age group earned the opportunity to represent USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA at the 2022 World Triathlon Aquathlon Championships in Townsville, Australia. 

Leslie Battle (Warwick, R.I.), a several-time Team USA qualifier, won Friday’s 40-54 age group Athena title. The Clydesdale and Athena competitive divisions are based on weight minimums outlined in the USA Triathlon Competitive Rules. Battle, wearing her Team USA uniform, is proud to represent both Team USA and the Athena community. 

“It all about respect and it’s about us showing up and showing what we can do. It’s all about the team spirit and representing our nation as Team USA. So if you’re putting in the work and time and showing up while doing your best — that’s all you can ask for,” Battle said. “I think Athena and Clydesdale athletes have proven that we are equal members of Team USA.” 

In the 1,500-meter open water swim competition, Amanda Holling (Santa Ana, Calif.) took the women’s overall title with a time of 31:52. Tracy Merrill (San Marcos, Calif.) won the men’s overall title with a time of 20:57. 

In the 1,000m open water swim competition, Feroz Dewan (New York, N.Y.) swam in 13:20 to win the men’s overall title, while Elena Zippel (Milwaukee, Wis.) took the women’s title in 14:45.

Also on Friday, the USA Triathlon Foundation, along with the LA Sports Council’s Ready, Set, Gold! program, which helps youth discover healthy and active lifestyles while learning Olympic and Paralympic ideals, hosted a youth clinic. Children ages 8-15 learned the basics of triathlon, race-walking and rowing directly from members of the Long Beach Rowing Association (led by former US Rowing National Team member Jack Nunn) and select Olympians competing in Saturday’s Pro-Am Relay wave. 

Olympians competing in Saturday’s Pro-Am Relay wave include: 

Allen James, Race-Walking, 1992 and 1996 U.S. Olympian
Michellie Jones, Triathlon, 2000 Australian Olympic silver medalist, 2016 Australian Paralympic gold medalist (guide)
Barb Lindquist, Triathlon, 2004 U.S. Olympian
Joe Maloy, Triathlon, 2016 U.S. Olympian
Giddeon Massie, Track Cycling, 2004 U.S. Olympian
John Moffett, Swimming, 1984 U.S. Olympian, Qualified for Boycotted 1980 Olympics
John Naber, Swimming, 1976 U.S. Olympian, four-time gold medalist, 1-time silver medalist
Andy Potts, Triathlon, 2004 U.S. Olympian, 2020 U.S. Paralympian (guide)

All proceeds from Saturday’s Olympian Pro-Am Relay wave will be donated to the USA Triathlon Foundation and the Ready, Set, Gold! program.

For complete Legacy Triathlon information, including a schedule of events and course maps, download the digital event program and visit the event website at Saturday’s racing action begins at 6:45 a.m. PT. 

USA Triathlon Aquathlon National Championships
1,000m swim, 5k run

National ChampionsComplete Results

Female Overall: Caitlin Switaj (Tucson, Ariz.) 37:28
Male Overall: Trevor Halsted (Palo Alto, Calif.) 30:19
F15-19: Kennedy Rainwater (Brookfield, Wis.) 37:54
M15-19: Johnathan Dolan (Atascadero, Calif.) 32:09
F20-24: Victoria Woolfolk (Santa Ana, Calif.) 38:39
M20-24: Alex Derbyshire (Alhambra, Calif.) 34:01
F25-29: Alena Schuss (Huntington Beach, Calif.) 38:25
M25-29: Trevor Halsted (Palo Alto, Calif.) 30:19
F30-34: Caitlin Switaj (Tucson, Ariz.) 37:28
M30-34: Todd Buckingham (Wyoming, Mich.) 31:29
F35-39: Carly Johann (Culver City, Calif.) 37:40 
M35-39: Carlo Bentley (Lafayatte, La.) 42:30 
F40-44: Katherine Phillips (Tucson, Ariz.) 39:10
M40-44: George Beecher (Huntington Beach, Calif.) 34:16
F45-49: Heather Butcher (Nokomis, Fla.) 38:31
M45-49: Jayson Fultz (San Diego, Calif.) 40:55
F50-54: Georgiana Hedien (Beverly Hills, Calif.) 42:41
M50-54: Marcel Rinzler (Wildomar, Calif.) 36:05
F55-59: Katie McCully (Eastham, Mass.) 40:46
M55-59: Michael Collins (Irvine, Calif.) 36:44
F60-64: Sharon Smith (Austin, Texas) 47:18
M60-64: George Serbia (Irvine, Calif.) 39:27
F65-69: Susan Griffin-Kaklikian (Colorado Springs, Colo.) 46:42
M65-69: Bill Reese (Mandeville, La.) 40:18
F70-74: Colleen Burns (McIntosh, New Mexico) 46:40
M70-74: John Towart (Solana Beach, Calif.) 44:38
F75-79: Nancy Downs (Venice, Fla.) 55:08
M75-79: Robert Plant (Redwood City, Calif.) 50:55
M80-84: Arby Kitzman (Morro Bay, Calif.) 57:49
Athena 39 & Under: Ashley Miller (Urbandale, IA.) 59:17
Athena 40-54: Leslie Battle (Warwick, R.I.) 51:58
Clydesdale 40-59: Carlo Tannoury (Del Mar, Calif.) 1:07:47

Open Water Swim 

1500 meters

Female overall: Amanda Holling (Santa Ana, Calif.) 31:52

Male overall: Tracy Merrill (San Marcos, Calif.) 20:57

Open Water Swim 

1000 meters

Female overall: Elena Zippel (Milwaukee, Wis.) 14:45 

Male overall: Feroz Dewan (New York, N.Y.) 13:20  

About USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,000 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Triathlon Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of World Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

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