The USA’s Tim O’Donnell topped his breakthrough win at St. Croix 70.3 with gold at the ITU long course World Championship and Jodie Swallow became the fourth straight woman from Great Britain to take the crown at Perth, Australia Sunday.
O’Donnell executed a well-planned race, emerging from the 3k swim a close 6th, advancing on the 80k bike with a second-best 1:53:37 split, then taking charge with a third-best 1:12:00 on the 20km run to hit the line in 3:48:15, 67 seconds in front of runner-up Sylvain Sudrie of France, with Martin Jensen of Denmark third 12 seconds back of Sudrie, and 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Jan Rehula of the Czech Republic 4th in 3:50:26.
By contrast, Swallow, a former World Student Games Gold Medalist and World Junior Athlete of the Year and a 2004 Olympian, smashed the women’s field, topping runner-up Rebekah Keat of Australia by an astounding 11 minutes 11 seconds in 4:07:38. Swallow went wire-to-wire, emerging from the swim in 41:47, 49 seconds ahead of next-best woman swimmer Australian Pip Taylor. On the bike, Swallow's 2:04:54 was 2:47 better than super-cyclist Keat, and Swallow’s 1:18:18 run was 3:18 better than Keat’s 20km effort.
At the finish, Keat’s silver medal winning performance was 38 seconds in front of bronze medalist Delphine Pelletier of France, with Switzerland’s Sybille Matter another 2:16 back in 4th place.
Swallow, who has made a dent in the short course races in 2008 with third places at Chicago and London and New York, and who celebrated her move up to the 70.3 distance with a win at Singapore this year, continued a remarkable streak of wins by UK women at this championship. Swallow follows Bella Bayliss (2006), Leanda Cave (2007), and Chrissie Wellington (2008) to become the fourth straight woman from Great Britain to win the ITU Long Distance Worlds.
“Everything came together really well for me out there so I couldn’t be happier,” Swallow told ITU media. “I went to the Olympics (in Athens) and that was a tough experience but you learn and you move on, so to come back and win a world championship is very pleasing.”
Keat, who charged into prominence this year with a world second best-ever Ironman distance performance of 8:39 while finishing second to Chrissie Wellington at Quelle Challenge Roth, offered a strong performance considering it was two weeks after her 5th place finish at Ironman Hawaii. Near the end, she fell back a bit with cramps. “That really hurt; I’m totally spent,” she told ITU media. “I tried to mount a challenge but Jodie was on another planet, so full credit to her, she was outstanding. Look, I’ve just won a silver medal in a world championship, so I shouldn’t get too down on myself, but it was a bit ugly out there towards the end.”
O’Donnell has emerged to full fledged stardom this year, breaking Craig Alexander’s course record at St. Croix Ironman 70.3, winning Calgary 70.3, the Boulder 5430 long course, Boulder Peak Olympic distance; taking second at the US Pro Championships, Ironman Kansas 70.3, and thirds at short course races in Chicago and the ITU Pan Am Championships as well as Ironman New Orleans 70.3 and the Rev3 half Ironman.
“Man, that swim was rough; I was happy to get out of the water,” O’Donnell told ITU media. “The wind just threw up so much chop you could hardly see where you were going. But I just built into it on the ride and put myself in a good position behind a couple of guys I was confident I could pick up on the run. Sylvain (Sudrie) is a great runner so he was tough to drop out there but I think I put together a very sound race today.”
ITU Long Distance World Championship
October 25, 2009
S 3km/ B 80k/ R 20k
1. Tim O’Donnell (USA) 3:48:15
2. Sylvain Sudrie (FRA) 3:49:22
3. Martin Jensen (DEN) 3:49:34
4. Jan Rehula (CZE) 3:50:26
5. Paul Ambrose (AUS) 3:50:38
6. Francois Chabaud (FRA) 3:51:12
7. Leon Griffin (AUS) 3:52:57
8. Julien Loy (FRA) 3:54:40
9. Kieran Doe (NZL) 3:56:49
10. Clayton Fettell (AUS) 3:56:56
23. Ben Hoffman (USA) 4:11:50
1. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 4:07:38
2. Rebekah Keat (AUS) 4:18:49
3. Delphine Pelletier (FRA) 4:19:27
4. Sybille Matter (SUI) 4:21:43
5. Lucie Zelenkova (CZE) 4:26:48
6. Amelia Pearson (AUS) 4:28:20
7. Lisa Marangon (AUS) 4:30:37
8. Merja Kivaranta (FIN) 4:31:10
9. Pip Taylor (AUS) 4:31:55
10. Rebecca Witinok-Huber (USA) 4:33:18