Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Athletes swim, bike and run their way to victory in Tuscaloosa triathalon

The city of Tuscaloosa hosted the USA Triathlon Age Group, Sprint and Elite National Championships on Saturday and Sunday.

Contenders of each race lined up on a dock that extended into the Black Warrior River from The Park at Manderson Landing to then swim 1.5 km, bike 40 km and finally run 10 km.

After the swimming component of the race, each contender biked and ran on a series of loops coursing down Jack Warner Parkway and Hackberry Lane.

Ken Brown, a participant of the male Age Group triathlon, said he found the course to be fair compared to others.

“It’s not the hardest course I’ve raced on,” he said.

Brown said the humidity, not the course, was the true obstacle for many contenders to overcome.

Anna Woods, a freshman majoring in French and English and a volunteer for the event, said she was amazed by the diversity of age groups present to compete.

“It’s kind of interesting to see old people so amped up,” she said.

Woods said she found the sport to be family-friendly, because it welcomes people from the college-age level and up to compete.

Tim Yount, an announcer for the event, said Tuscaloosa has served the USA Triathlon well as a location for the race.

“We held the Olympic trials here in ’08,” Yount said. “It’s a great city for support and a fun town as well.”

Jeff Roberts, captain of the Tuscaloosa Fire Department, said he and his employees were asked to help with the event by maneuvering the buoys in the water for the swimming component of the race and to rescue people found struggling in the water.

“Last year, we had a problem with the current so that the direction of the water was going against [the competitors],” Roberts said. “But we’ve only pulled a few out today.”

Roberts said the competitors in the Elite race are professional athletes who are therefore not prone to struggle in the swimming component of the race. He said for the most part, his job consists of looking out for the safety of competitors in the Age Group race.

Susan Williams, an announcer for the event and an Olympic bronze medalist in the triathlon at Athens in 2004, said she would give the competitors the advice of not over-extending themselves.

“Stay with the pack and work together as strongly as you can,” Williams said.

According to a USA Triathlon news release, the Elite National Championship had nearly 20 international athletes in addition to the American athletes scheduled to compete, and the victor of the race was entitled to a $50,000 prize.

As for the Age Group and Sprint competitors, contenders had the opportunity to win spots to represent Team USA in Beijing in 2011.

“The top 18 finishers (rolling down to 25th place) in each age group in both the Olympic-distance and sprint events in Tuscaloosa will qualify for a Team USA slot,” the news release stated.

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