Charlotte McShane and Natalie Coevorden were among the first of the Australian Team members to contest the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, taking to the individual triathlon finals alongside fellow Aussie teammate, Sophie Linn.
Experienced campaigner and 31-year-old Charlotte, at her second Commonwealth Games, managed to emulate her Gold Coast 2018 performance and crossed the line in 11th once more whilst her fellow NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) team member, Natalie Coevorden secured a 14th place finish on debut.
The sprint-distance course event took place over a 750m swim at Powell’s Pool lake in Sutton, just outside Birmingham, before transitioning to a fast four-lap 20km bike and a two-lap five-kilometre run through Sutton Park on Friday evening.
Linn was the first of the Australian women to cross the line, finishing in fifth place off the back of an incredible run leg.
For her first major Games experience, Natalie achieved what she had set out to in proving her deservedness to be wearing the green and gold and representing her country.
“After last year… it was pretty cool that finally my results could get me onto a major Games team,” she said ahead of racing.
“It’s a really exciting time. I’m looking forward to getting out there and proving I deserve to be on that team… I really want to put my best foot forward.”
The eager 29-year-old enjoyed an impressive start to her first campaign, emerging fifth out of the water just +.08 seconds behind race leader, Flora Duffy.
Bermuda’s Duffy, the reigning Olympic champion and Commonwealth medallist, maintained her race lead to break away further in the bike leg with England’s Georgia Taylor-Brown closely in pursuit. Charlotte and Natalie were caught battling for position in the second chase pack while Scotland’s Beth Potter lead the first.
The Bermuda and English duo were no match for the field of competition with Duffy charging the pace to a gold medal in 55.25, and Taylor-Brown claiming a home-soil silver behind her (+.41). Potter rounded out the podium to take bronze.
Australian teammates Brandon Copeland, Jacob Birtwhistle and Matthew Hauser were the first to contest the course, where Hauser claimed Australia’s first medal of the Games, a bronze in a dramatic finish to the men’s race. Birtwhistle followed in closely to pick up a fourth-place finish.
With two out of the five medal events in triathlon now complete, chances for additional medals will be up for grabs across two Para events (the PTVI men and women finals) and in the mixed relay triathlon, where the Australian team will aim to defend their Commonwealth title.
The mixed triathlon will consist of two men and two women (TBA), each swimming 250 metres, cycling seven kilometres and running 1.5 kilometres.
Fellow NSWIS athlete Jonathan Goerlach will commence his 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign when he takes to the PTVI in Birmingham on July 31.
Article by Caitlin Glanville, NSW Institute of Sport