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More than 120 collegiate triathlon clubs and over 1,500 of the nation’s top up-and-coming triathletes will flock to Tempe, Ariz., next month for the April 12-13 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships at Tempe Beach Park and Tempe Town Lake.
Read the preview from USA Triathlon below:
The race weekend will kick off Friday, April 12 at 9 a.m. with the inaugural USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships. This exciting sprint-distance (750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run) event is open to the nation’s top 75 men and 75 women, who qualified to participate in the draft-legal race.
Saturday, April 13 will consist of the Olympic-distance (1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run) USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships, as well as the draft-legal, Mixed-Team Relay. The women’s Olympic-distance race is slated for 7:30 a.m., followed by the men at 10:35 a.m.
The Mixed-Team Relay will begin at 4 p.m. Up to 50 four-person teams will consist of two men and two women, with each athlete covering a 250k swim, 5k bike, 1.2k run course. This race format debuted at 2012 Collegiate Nationals to rave reviews and is being pushed by the International Triathlon Union as a possible addition to the program at future Olympic Games.
Qualified athletes will be able to compete in both the draft-legal and Olympic-distance Collegiate National Championship events, and both races will count toward the Collegiate Nationals team scoring.
The University of Colorado enters 2013 Collegiate Nationals as the three-time defending overall team champion. The Buffs also captured the men’s and women’s team titles a year ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Tempe’s hometown Arizona State University Triathlon Club finished 23rd in the overall team standings last year, while the University of Arizona Tri Cats Triathlon Club placed eighth. Arizona’s Ben Kanute won the men’s undergraduate national title in 2012.
After the Collegiate National Championships concludes with a Saturday evening awards ceremony at Tempe Marketplace, the triathlon action continues Sunday with the LeadmanTri Marquee, which features a 125-kilometer course beginning with a 2.5k swim in Tempe Town Lake, a flat and fast 111.5k bike through the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and an 11k trail run through Papago Park.