Tyler Butterfield is all smiles after winning the men’s race. *Photo by Glenn Tucker
Tyler Butterfield is all smiles after winning the men’s race. *Photo by Glenn Tucker

Tyler Butterfield produced a dominant performance to win the Catlin National Triathlon Championships on Sunday at Clearwater Beach whilst Karen Smith defended her women’s title with a less emphatic but still comfortable win.

There was no doubt before these championships that barring any mishap Butterfield would win but he lived up to his pre race promise to race hard and showed the thrilled spectators just why he is considered to be one of the world’s leading distance triathletes leading from start to finish and finishing in 1hr 55 mins 49 secs almost 15 minutes ahead of defending champion Jonathan Herring.

Butterfield showed how hard he has worked on his swim, historically his Achilles heal, exiting the 1500m swim in 20.45 over two minutes ahead of Herring. He then completed the 40km bike in 1hr 31secs , the fastest time by 3 minutes, before posting by far the fastest run time of 33 mins 23secs.

Herring, who is coming back from injury, was well short of his best time over this distance but had enough of a cushion after the swim and bike to hold on to second place.

Tucker Murphy appeared to be catching Herring on the run but there was some confusion on the run as a turn cone got moved and some runners appeared to have taken a wrong turn. Murphy ended up 7th but his run time of 45 mins and 53 secs suggests that he may have run a longer course and thus missed out on a podium spot. Mark Robinson showed that he had recovered well from the previous weekend when he raced in the St,Croix Half Ironman as he  took the third place  narrowly ahead of newcomer Philip Mace.

Smith trailed Belinda Castree by over 1 1Ž2 minutes on the swim but slowly reeled in Castree on the bike and never looked back as she increased her lead on the run to finish in 2hrs 21 mins 37 secs. Laurie Orchard had a solid race despite  always trailing Smith but  moved into 2nd place on the run to finish in 2 hrs 24mins and 39 secs. Amber Mehta had a breakthrough race with a time of  2hrs 32 mins 38 secs to finish third as Castree faded badly in the heat on the run but just held off newcomer  Kristen Palmer to take fourth.

Thirteen-year old Mathew Oliviera showed why he will be one to watch in the future as he took on the adults in the non championship sprint event over 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run and took top honours in 1hr 9 mins and 17 secs with early leader Nuri Lathan 2nd and Byron Rencken third. Laura Norman was a comfortable winner in the female division in 1hr 14 mins and 26 secs with Kim McIvor and Claire de ste Croix taking the other podium spots.

Exciting junior prospects and  brothers Alex and Nicholas Pilgrim were first and second in the 12-15 year old triathlon with Nicholas Brando in third whilst Rebeccca Harrison took female honours ahead of Laura Hope and Jessica Godfrey.

In the seven to 10 age groups Megan Hands won the girls division ahead of Karen Smith’s daughter, Lindsay, with Chloe Castree third. Adrian McPhee took boys honours with Blake Oliveira in second and Harlan Watson-Brown rounding out the top three.