Nicky Samuels and Andrea Hewitt both posted solid top 10 placings at the latest round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in London overnight, Samuels coming home in 5th place and Hewitt one spot back in 6th over the sprint distance.
Gwen Jorgensen (USA) stamped her class on the field with a dominant performance including one of the quickest swims on the day while Sarah Groff (USA) won silver and Emma Jackson (Australia) bronze after running through the field with the second fastest run split behind only Jorgensen.
Neither Kiwi emerged from the water right with the leaders but Samuels was close enough with a quick transition and strong start to her ride to settle into the lead group of 11 on the bike, going on to post the quickest time on the 20km cycle around Hyde Park.
Hewitt meanwhile settled into the chase group alongside World Rankings leader Jodie Stimpson (GBR) and former World Champion Helen Jenkins (GBR), riding into the second transition 20 seconds down on the leaders.
Hewitt then ran through a large number of athletes to finish just one spot and 3 seconds behind Samuels in a strong day for the New Zealanders. For Hewitt the race marked her first ITU outing since the Auckland Barfoot & Thompson World Series race in April.
The performance of Samuels was based on consistency across all three disciplines and speed through transition which earned her vital time in a race where just 20 seconds separated positions 5 through 15 on a frantic day.
The return for former champion Lisa Norden after missing the entire 2013 ITU season showed just how much the sport continues to improve with the Swedish star well off the pace in all three disciplines. It was however a welcome return for the smiling Norden, if she can regain her past form she adds another dynamic to the women’s racing.
There were no Kiwi men in the elite men’s race, won by Mario Mola (Spain), from Richard Murray (South Africa) and Joao Pereira (Portugal) with Great Britain’s Brownlee brothers missing the podium for the second consecutive World Series race.
ITU World Triathlon Series
Sprint 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
1. Gwen Jorgensen USA 00:54:44
2. Sarah Groff USA 00:55:12
3. Emma Jackson AUS 00:55:19
4. Alice Betto ITA 00:55:35
5. Nicky Samuels NZL 00:55:36
6. Andrea Hewitt NZL 00:55:39
7. Helen Jenkins GBR 00:55:39
8. Aileen Reid IRL 00:55:40
9. Rebecca Robisch GER 00:55:41
10. Vendula Frintova CZE 00:55:42