Andy Potts got an early Christmas gift courtesy of a boat crew offering errant directions to his competitors in the swim, and breezed to victory in the CapTex Triathlon in Austin, Texas.
Sarah Haskins got no such assist, yet had a comfortable race as well.
Potts led from the start in the swim, as he typically does, and rounded a buoy only to hear an apparent swim official shout to Potts, and his competitors, that the buoy should be ignored. Potts instead ignored the official, and headed for home. The other swimmers heeded what turned out to be errant advice.
Accordingly, Potts emerged with a large lead as he left T2 ahead of Cameron Dye, Hunter Kemper, Filip Ospaly, Ben Collins and Matty Reed (who started despite suffering from a cold). But Potts gave a good chunk back through being led the wrong way out of transition, requiring him to backtrack.
Dye "rode angry" according to our lead spotter — here's our live coverage of the race—and he took that 2-plus minutes out of Potts over the course of 40k. Dye's bike ride gave him a 5-second lead on Potts entering T2.
Collins towed the rest of the group, just managing to keep Potts at the same gap the great swimmer took with him out of the water. But Collins' pace was too much for Ospaly and Reed, who fell off in the latter stages of the bike and entered T2 about :40 back of the duo of Kemper—who rode his ITU bike in this no-draft event—and Collins.
Dye keeps proving he's the premier short course cyclist in North American racing over this past Spring. He also keeps demonstrating he's not yet in Potts' league as a runner. Potts quickly resumed the race lead on his way to a 4th-best 32:58 run while Kemper, though 2 minutes back, refused to concede victory and began his charge.
Kemper methodically took :10 to :15 per kilometer out of Potts' lead, and in the end his race-best 31:16 run fell 13 seconds short of his goal. Potts's run was just enough to finish in 1:52:00 to Kemper's 1:52:13. Dye continued his strong early season showing with a 3rd place, 1:42 back of Potts.
"When we lost that time on the swim, I just decided to hammer on the bike," said Dye who posted a race-best 55:50, which gained back all of the 2:49 he'd lost on the swim. "But after that bike, I was tapped out and had nothing left for the run." Dye could manage only a 34:45 10k after his heroic bike.
Kemper was irate. "I would have won the race," said Kemper. "I don't see how they can award prize money and series points the way it went down. We were all on course and heading for the yellow turnaround buoy when a large boat and a jet ski zoomed in front of us and told us we were to go off course and we stopped. By the time we got going again we'd lost almost 3 minutes to Andy. "
Dye said that he was sure that Kemper would have won had the swim gone without incident. "But I am not sure I could have beaten Andy today," he added.
It's clear that Sarah Haskins has no peer in triathlon among her countrywomen, and her recent World Cup win cements her position as one of the elite short course racers in any country.
Haskins stayed on the feet of super-swimmer and 2010 Life Time Fitness Series women's champion Sara McLarty, as is usually the case. By the end of the swim, Haskins' 18:01 leg put her in a virtual tie with Jasmine Oeinck and McLarty. On the first lap of 4 on the bike, Haskins and McLarty broke away. On the middle of lap 2, Haskins left McLarty and struck out on her own. After her race-best 1:02:47 bike, Haskins had a clear lead starting the run.
Haskins then cruised to a 3rd-best 36:12 run that gave her a final time of 1:59:35 and a 3:27 margin of victory over runner-up Alicia Kaye, who closed with a 37:13 run to top third place Becky Lavelle by 1:44 and Jasmine Oeinck took 4th, 11 seconds back of Lavelle.
The 7:36 differential between men and women's finish times would seem astounding—Wellington-like—except that the women didn't suffer from errant directions in the swim. Indeed, the Sara[h]s exited the water with the lead men's swim group, even though they started 4 minutes behind them.
May 29, 2011
1.5k swim - 40k bike - 10k run
1. Andy Potts 1:52:00
2. Hunter Kemper 1:52:13
3. Cameron Dye 1:53:35
4. Filip Ospaly 1:54:15
5. Ben Collins 1:54:25
6. Matty Reed 1:55:40
7. David Thompson 1:55:40
8. Andrew Starykowicz 1:59:23
9. Nathan White 1:59:46
10. Peter Mallett 1:59:51
1. Sarah Haskins 1:59:35
2. Alicia Kaye 2:03:02
3. Becky Lavelle 2:04:26
4. Jasmine Oeinck 2:04:37
5. Nicole Kelleher 2:04:52
6. Tenille Hoogland 2:05:04
7. Flora Duffy 2:06:14
8. Sara McLarty 2:06:19
9. D'Ann Arthur 2:09:11
10. Kristen Peterson 2:15:46