USA Triathlon Collegiate Club and High School National Championships Return to Tuscaloosa Featured

Tuscaloosa will welcome nearly 1,300 triathletes from 120 collegiate clubs and more than 150 high school triathletes to town on Friday and Saturday (April 27-28), for the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club and High School National Championships.

A longtime USA Triathlon National Championships host, Tuscaloosa is welcoming the event for the second consecutive year. The city also held Collegiate Club Nationals in 2011 and 2012, as well as the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships (sprint and Olympic-distance) in 2009 and 2010.

USA Triathlon announced on Tuesday that the course for all races will be shifted from a triathlon (swim-bike-run) to a duathlon (run-bike-run) to ensure athlete safety. Heavy rainfall in Tuscaloosa the past two weeks led to the Holt Dam spillway gates being opened by local officials to avoid flooding. Heightened volume in the Black Warrior River necessitated that the gates remain open through race weekend, resulting in overly strong currents that were deemed unsafe for swimming.

“While being forced to cancel the swim is never an easy prospect, the safety of all competitors will always be our No. 1 concern,” said Brian D’Amico, USA Triathlon Director of Events and the race director for the Collegiate Club & High School National Championships. “We were informed of the extreme river conditions earlier this week and, after monitoring the situation closely with local officials, we were unfortunately left with no other option. We have communicated this change to our conference commissioners and coaches, who have been understanding and supportive. While we share in the athletes’ disappointment, we look forward to delivering a premier race experience this weekend and showcasing the top collegiate and high school talent from across the country.”

Racing starts Friday morning with the Draft-Legal Collegiate Club Championships, in which athletes will now cover a 2.5-kilometer run, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and another 2.5-kilometer run. The first women’s wave goes off at 8:15 a.m. CT, followed by the men at 10 a.m. CT. The draft-legal format, which allows athletes to work together and pace off each other on the bike, is similar to what is contested in elite International Triathlon Union (ITU) competitions and the Olympic Games.

In the afternoon, some of the nation’s up-and-coming multisport athletes will compete at the USA Triathlon High School National Championships. The course will cover a 2.5k run, non-drafting 21.45k bike and 2.5k run. High school boys, including two athletes competing in the Paratriathlon Open division, will race at 12 p.m. CT, followed by the girls at 1 p.m. CT.

The action continues Saturday morning with nearly the entire field of collegiate athletes competing in the Olympic-Distance Collegiate Club Championships. The course covers a 5.2k run, 40k bike and another 5.2k run. The race also includes a Paratriathlon Open division, which features a 5.2k run, 20k bike and 5.2k run. Women are set to go off at 7:30 a.m. CT, followed by all paratriathletes at 9:25 a.m. CT, and men at 10:10 a.m. CT.

The Mixed Team Relay event will cap off the weekend at 4:15 p.m. CT. Each team is comprised of two men and two women from the same school, with each athlete covering a 1.07k run (for athlete No. 1, that distance will be 0.87k), 5.9k bike and 1.2k run before handing off to the next teammate.

For all races, athletes will bike and run on Jack Warner Parkway, the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk and surrounding roads, and finish at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. Updated run-bike-run course maps are now available at usatriathlon.org/ccnc2018.

Qualified collegiate athletes may compete in multiple races throughout the weekend. Individual and club (men’s, women’s and overall) champions will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony, set for 8 p.m. CT on Saturday at the Sellers Auditorium at the Bryant Conference Center. Results from both the draft-legal and Olympic-distance races will factor into men’s and women’s club scores, while the Mixed Team Relay will factor into overall (combined men’s and women’s) team scoring for the first time this year.

Participants, spectators and media can access live athlete tracking using the USA Triathlon Events App. The app, which also features a live leaderboard, up-to-date schedules and complete event information, is available for free download on iPhone and Android devices. Athlete tracking is also available in a web-browser-based version of the app, available by clicking here. Users of the 2017 app (“USA Triathlon National Events App”) with the blue icon should delete it from their phones and download the “USA Triathlon Events App” with an orange icon. For more information, visit usatriathlon.org/eventsapp.

Live coverage of all races will also be available on Twitter @USATLive.

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