Jodie Swallow flew high in Cairns over the weekend, taking the victory at the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship in record-breaking fashion and booking her ticket to the Ironman World Championship.
In typical Swallow style she took the lead on the 3.8-kilometer swim. Showing no signs of the broken elbow sustained on her Ironman South Africa bike crash two months ago, the 2012 Ironman 70.3 world champion exited the water in 49 minutes. From there she stomped through to a new bike course record, going 4:50 over the 180 kilometers against rain and headwind. By the time she hopped off to start her run, she held a healthy buffer of over 20 minutes. The Briton held on and gave it all on the run, collapsing after she crossed the finish line with the day’s fourth-best marathon of 3:21 to win in 9:06:18.
Swallow was 14th overall and slashed a whopping 17 minutes off the bike course record and four minutes off the course record. She credits her performance to her fiance and coach James Cunnama. “I would not have started without James,” she said. “Kept me in the sport. This is down to him.” He said of her, “Impossible to convey what Jodie has achieved today after sh-t in the last 2 months. Champions overcome. Proud coach. Proud partner.” The triathlon power couple will both start in Kona.
Meanwhile, Sam Appleton took home the bronze at Ironman 70.3 Boulder. The Australian was in the lead group through the swim and bike and ran shoulder-to-shoulder with the eventual champion before sliding back into third. “I’ll take it. Hot and fast racing! I loved all the home support out there,” he said. He marches on toward the big prize at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
Fredrik Croneborg finished in fifth place at Ironman 70.3 Japan, still recovering from his bike accident 10 days prior to the race. He said, “I was struggling from the start with a not-too-good swim followed by an OK bike riding in the group. Jumping off the bike with heavy legs and that got a bit better half way through. Good guys in front and need to prepare some more leg speed on the run for the half distance.” The Swede now heads to Korea for the weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Busan.
Javier Gomez was able to salvage his race at World Triathlon Series Leeds and finished fourth. After being in the front pack on the swim, the five-time world champion was trapped in a massive chase pack on the bike while the men’s leaders increased their gap. The Spaniard hopped off his bike two minutes down but executed the day’s fastest run to finish just 30 seconds off the podium. “Good swim and run but I wasn’t where I had to be on the first kilometer of the bike,” he said. His build-up to the Rio Olympics continues.