Erica Hawley finished 40th at the International Triathlon Union’s Junior World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands in a time of 1hr 5min 47sec.
Taylor Knibb, the American who finished second to Flora Duffy in the Edmonton leg of the ITU World Triathlon Series in July, won in a time of 1:01:22.
In very cold conditions, as expected, it was the 750m swim that proved crucial for a top-ten finish with Fuka Sega, of Japan, leading out a large group in 10min 15sec.
Hawley emerged from the water further back in 10:45 and from then on her chances of catching the leaders had all but gone.
Knibb and Sega set a fast pace at the front as packs formed behind the two leaders. Hawley was in the third pack and they slowly lost time on the leading group entering the second transition around three minutes behind Knibb. Despite losing ten seconds on the first 2.5km lap of the run to a fast-charging Kate Waugh, Knibb held on with Waugh, of Britain, 16 seconds back and Sega in third in 1:02:05.
“[It was] my last year at worlds and I would’ve hoped for more,” Hawley said. “I had amazing preparation going into this and was feeling strong. After the long travel here I arrived with a sore throat, which was far from ideal, but I told myself to push through it, and I wouldn’t blame that for my end result.
“I had a solid swim, bike and run and at the end of the day it was positioning and the minute mishaps that differentiated tenth and 40th.
“I found it hard to move my position on the bike, which could’ve been due to being extra cautious from a couple of crashes over the summer. I think I need to switch to mountain biking this winter to get some mad skills like Flora!
“I got off the bike near the end of my pack and then tried to hold strong for the run. I ran 19:29, which a year ago would’ve been really good, but considering my fitness now I was disappointed.
“I felt strong and the time was way off what I have actually been running — maybe because I was feeling a bit under the weather, maybe because everyone else was running well too.
“After the race I reminded myself that I’m at the world champs with the best of the best and I still finished my best position at a world champs; I’ve had some pretty bad races here!
“Now it’s just onto the next one. The season isn’t over yet and I’m ready to redeem this performance as I feel like I am physically and mentally fitter than the outcome of today.”