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Clemson, S.C. will host the largest-ever field of collegiate triathletes across the United States this weekend at the 2016 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships, set for April 22-23.
Read the preview from USA Triathlon below:
Nearly 1,350 collegiate triathletes are set to compete at Clemson’s Campus Beach this Friday and Saturday, marking the biggest field to ever race at Collegiate Club Nationals in the 20-plus years of the event. Race action kicks off at 10 a.m. ET on Friday, April 22, with the fourth-annual Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships, where athletes will compete over a 750-meter swim, 19.6-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course. The collegiate women will race first, followed by the collegiate men at noon ET.
Collegiate action continues Saturday, April 23, with the marquee Collegiate Club National Championships race. The 1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run course has long been a staple of Collegiate Club Nationals, with the women set to start at 7:30 a.m. ET and the men at 10:35 a.m. ET. A sprint-distance paratriathlon wave will begin at 9:35 a.m. ET. The final collegiate event of the weekend, the Mixed Team Relay, will begin at 4:15 p.m. ET and feature more than 50 teams, including five alumni teams. Each team will be comprised of four athletes (two women, two men), with each athlete completing a 250m swim, 4.1k bike and 1.2k run.
Of the nearly 1,350 collegiate athletes racing over two days, more than 300 will be competing in more than one event. Nearly 50 athletes are racing in all three collegiate events scheduled for the two-day competition. Winners of individual races as well as all team standings will be recognized at the award ceremony, scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on April 23 at Tillman Auditorium on the Clemson University campus.
In addition to the record field of collegiate athletes, the USA Triathlon High School National Championships will debut on Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The at-capacity field of 125 athletes will compete in a non-drafting sprint-distance event, following the same 750m swim, 19.6k bike, 5k run course as the Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships.
Multisport fans can follow the action live on USA Triathlon’s live blog at Usatriathlon.org/usatcn16coverage. Event coverage will begin 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the draft-legal sprint, high school and Olympic-distance events.
The University of Colorado has earned the Collegiate Club Nationals title for the past six years and returns as the defending champion of the overall team title. UCLA picked up the women’s team title again in 2015 for their second straight year as women’s champions, and the U.S. Naval Academy won the men’s team title, snapping the CU Buffs’ five-year streak of winning the men’s title.
In the individual collegiate races, UCLA’s Kelly Kosmo returns to defend her title in the Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships, but she will face tough competition from returning runner-up Brittany Warly of Colorado and last year’s fourth-place finisher Emily Dingman of Colorado State University. Penn State’s Mike Meehan is the top returner on the men’s side in the draft-legal race, having finished fourth last year. He is joined by fifth-place finisher Brian Primeaux from the U.S. Naval Academy.
The race to individual titles in the Olympic-distance Collegiate Club Nationals event is wide open, with no top-five finishers returning on the women’s side. Meehan is the only top-five finisher returning to the event on the men’s side, and he looks to add another national title to his race resume with the overall title from the 2014 USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships under his belt.
The High School Nationals field features many top junior elite triathletes, including national champion and 2015 ITU Junior World Championships silver medalist Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), as well as Audrey Ernst (South Elgin, Ill.), who won the women’s 16-19 ITU Sprint Worlds title in 2015.
A list of all competitors is available at sd.usatriathlon.org/cnc16.aspx. Visit Usatriathlon.org/usatcn16 for complete Collegiate Club Nationals information.